The Declaration of Energy Independence
Fed up with the short-sightedness of America's energy policies, the Real Goods staff drafted the Declaration of Energy Independence in 1991. The idea was to give a voice to the opinion that the nation's energy acquisition and consumption habits - based almost entirely on a small number of finite, pollution-generating resources - were on an unsustainable course, and to offer solutions for improving it. The Declaration was distributed throughout the U.S. via the Real Goods Catalog with a call for those who agreed with its principles to sign and mail it back to Real Goods so they could deliver the message to Washington D.C.
Various publications got wind of the Declaration of Energy Independence and ran it to help promote it. In a few months, over 10,000 forward-looking people had added their names to the Declaration, and in the spring of 1992 former California governor and presidential candidate Jerry Brown personally delivered the thousands of copies to the White House in an electric car.
In his first year as President, Bill Clinton responded to the Declaration by inviting Real Goods president and founder John Schaeffer and his friend and employee Jeff Oldham to Washington D.C. to help coordinate his Greening of The White House Initiative. Through various measures, the project cut the energy and water consumption of the "people's house" by 50% and stands as a major part of President Clinton's legacy of environmental protection.
So what exactly does the Declaration of Energy Independence say?
Dressed for a revolution, John Schaeffer chose a fitting flat surface to sign the Declaration of Energy Independence on - solar panels (which cost over $10/Watt at the time but now cost only about $1/Watt)!
A Declaration of Energy Independence
When in the Course of Global events, it becomes necessary for people to renounce Energy Policies which endanger life on Earth, and to put forward new policies which sustain the quality of life for all creatures to which the laws of Nature entitle them, a decent respect for the opinion of others requires that the causes which impel this renunciation should be explained.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all creatures and their offspring in perpetuity are endowed equally with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Clean Air, Fresh Water, and a Safe Environment. That whenever any policy becomes destructive of these rights, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish that policy, and to replace it by one that will protect Safety, Health, and Happiness.
The patience of the Citizens has been exhausted by a long train of abuses and exploitations, all having the effect of establishing energy control by the few over the many. To prove this, we submit these facts:
Our Crystalline air is fouled by fumes from irreplaceable fossil fuels burned without thought for the future.
Our Atmosphere is corrupted by heedless use of chemicals that affect the admission of sunlight, endangering the Earth's flora and fauna.
Our Majestic Mountains and Amber Waving Plains are wantonly ravaged for their bounty for immediate gains that do not consider the rights of future generations. The Earth is despoiled and nations deforested for immediate profit at untold future cost.
Our precious waters are contaminated with the excesses of industrial consumption and the disposal of human waste.
Our Oceans and Shores are horribly disfigured by wanton and wasteful relocation of fossil fuel.
Our Society is tyrannized by foreign despots upon whose oil we have allowed ourselves to become dependent.
Our Citizens live in constant fear that their Health and Welfare may be endangered by the hazards created by nuclear power, chemical accidents, and the other mechanisms of impatient greed, or by their employment for terrorist purposes.
Our nation's financial well-being has been diminished through the export of dollars in exchange for imported non-renewable fuels.
Over the past two decades, our government's energy policies have favored inaction in the service of corporate rapine. Again and again we have petitioned, appealing to native justice and common sense, but the powers in government refuse to honor the reasons for our original emigration to and settlement in a Free and Unpolluted World.
We, therefore, appeal to government and to the people and do declare our Energy Independence. We hereby reslove:
To promote Conservation of Resources as the most immediate means of achieving Energy Independence.
To embrace Renewable Energy Technologies, including solar, wind, and water, and to seek others, and to manage them prudently.
To encourage local production of energy and sustainable energy technologies, restoring power to the people.
To invest in measures that reduce the fouling of the environment by power production and manufacturing.
To adapt our lives to Health, Happiness, and the pursuit of Energy Sanity for the sake of ours and future generations.
To support Leaders who will follow the path towards Energy Independence, and to oppose those who favor quick gain at the expense of our children and their children.
In support of this Declaration of Energy Independence, we mutually pledge to each other our commitment to promote conscious and conservative use of energy, and to these goals we dedicate our lives.
Click to view or download the Declaration of Energy Independence as a PDF file.