Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dream Log: Renewable Energy Hero

I dreamed that the renewable-energy revolution was winning, worldwide. I was an electrical engineer who traveled the world helping people to set up solar and wind power, people who in some cases had previously had no access to electricity, and in other cases had relied on electrical generation which polluted heavily. I was world-famous for doing this. Many individual people, NGO's and actual governments gave money and other assistance to the projects with which I was involved.

Because of such projects, worldwide demand for oil, gas and coal was rapidly disappearing, and because so often I was a public face of such projects, petrochemical corporations kept sending assassins to kill me. But this fact was so well-known, and I was so well-liked, that the assassins were typically stopped long before they got to me. Some former assassins were now my allies. Some former petrochemical executives who had sent assassins after me had given up, and converted to the cause of renewable energy, and were now among the biggest donors. One of these former oil execs was famous for having publicly said, "It's just a lot more satisfying not to be a son of a bitch." Others were said to have given up fighting me and my colleagues and started planning their exit from the industry, although they had not yet publicly said so.

I and my team of engineers landed in an electric airplane in Central Africa to meet a group of local engineers who were working on the construction of a high-rise building which would contain public housing. We believed that when it was finished it would be the first high-rise in the world to be sheathed by transparent solar cells. Besides generating all of its own electricity, it would provide electricity to a wide surrounding region, and to a water-recovery plant which was being built next to it.

A crowd of joyously screaming children ran to greet us as we got out of the plane. We were used to that sort of thing. We made a conscious effort both to appropriately appreciate such kind welcomes, and to keep them from going to our heads. When we made speeches, we kept emphasizing that we were not essentially different in our outlook and actions from many other people who were getting much less attention. While we were being mobbed by the children, we could see a couple of petrochemical-industry assassins near the runway, being surrounded, disarmed and taken into custody by a crowd of local adults and juveniles.

After touring the construction site of the high rise and water recovery plant, I asked if we could be shown some typical homes in the region. Not places that had been dressed up for our visit, but actual average homes. We were shown huts with grass-burning fireplaces, with sewage ditches dug outside. We were carrying backpacks loaded with hand-cranked electrical devices which we distributed to the poor people we met. When I handed these radios and phones to people who kept bowing to me and thanking me profusely -- I knew what "thank you" sounded like in dozens of languages -- I felt like a phony who was vastly over-appreciated. Then I woke up.

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