It would be hard to think of a city that consumes electricity more conspicuously than does Las Vegas. And yet, in spite of that fact, this past year saw a major milestone in its history, as well as the nation's history. Las Vegas is now entirely powered by renewable energy.
I came of age in the 1970s, a time during which oil-producing countries had us in the grip of our dependency on their product. We were, as we are now, a nation that runs on electricity, and fossil fuels were the only way of producing it in mass quantities. This fact had an unfortunate effect on our foreign policy, forcing us into overseas alliances that made a mockery of our professed values as a nation. And many of the nations with whom we had these alliances showed no inclination to show us any real respect, or mercy. 9/11 was a particularly horrible example of that tendency.
Despite what those in the fossil fuel industry, and their supporters in the media (George Will, take note) said to the contrary, it has always been within our power to free ourselves from the grip of overseas despots who used their ability to provide oil to manipulate and terrorize us. All we had to do is remember that this country was meant to belong to the people, and not the fossil fuel industry. All we had to do is rely on the initiative and resourcefulness that made America great in the first place. All we had to do is take Jimmy Carter seriously when he said that the struggle for energy independence was the moral equivalent of war.
Thankfully, Barack Obama has been a president who took the challenge and opportunity of energy independence seriously. If this nation ever achieves total reliance on renewable resources, he will have played a large part in making it happen.
And, in the meantime, VIVA LAS VEGAS!