Prose & Comments: Revolutions, independence, opportunity

As we all know, back in 1776, our forefathers took the bold and profound step and declared our independence from England. And as a result of all that sacrifice, turmoil and tragedy, we the people created a great nation that continues to hold a leadership position in the world.
Now, we, the present generations, are facing another, different and even more challenging opportunity.

You ask: Another revolution? Yes, of a sort. If we rise to this occasion, we can hold an extraordinary leadership position, with significance not only for our country, but for the entire planet. If we fall short, it is unlikely that any other nation will be able, or willing, to so significantly shape our collective destiny.

While a few smaller countries have made some meaningful steps, here, certainly, there is a need for a theoretical “American exceptionalism.”

This current opportunity had its historical infancy not long after we first declared our independence in the early 1800s with the start of the Industrial Revolution. However, with the exception of a few scientists, the opportunity went unnoticed; it wasn’t until perhaps the late 1900s that it received serious global recognition.

Today, the need for a new revolution is upon us all, or so say scientists around the world. But this time, if we are very fortunate, it need not be waged with weapons and violence, but by motivation, leadership and wisdom, from all sources and at all levels.

The challenge at hand is climate change and not only is the future of this nation at stake, but so is the natural balance and stability of the entire planet. Volumes and volumes of research now support such serious concerns,

This is the time for all to become involved at some level; the issue will not go away or get better on its own. Many towns have taken significant steps in addressing such concern. For example, East Hampton and Southampton have instituted significant sustainability initiatives, and some individuals have discovered the benefits of solar and other energy-saving technologies. Churches, schools, libraries, businesses and other institutions are gradually joining in.

Perhaps it’s time for Shelter Island to join this “revolution” as well. We certainly have the information, community affluence, expertise and influence, yet something seems to be missing. Motivation? Leadership? Wisdom?

Perhaps it is time that we again declare our independence, but this time from fossil fuels.