The Energy Addict’s Prayer

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with simplifying daily life. Simplicity, it seems, may be the only way to collectively solve the world’s energy crisis. I’m all in with this steadily growing, common-sense movement. I’m ready to conserve, tread more lightly, and live with less stuff in better balance. It’s not about rainbows and unicorns, though I do secretly wonder if it’s possible to “go off the grid” in suburban Philadelphia. Rather, it’s an urgent awakening to the dire need for a fundamental change in the patterns of human consumption. I can only speak for myself, but I‘m actively seeking more realistic solutions.

In the course of scouring the internet for tips, perspectives and information on ways to simplify, I recently happened upon SimpleLiving.org. It’s a Christian faith-based website devoted to a concise definition of the simple life:

  • freedom from stuff and over-consumption
  • living intentionally and with integrity
  • caring for the Earth and Earth’s inhabitants
  • an act of faith and a spiritual discipline
  • living ethically
  • a political act and an economic revolution
  • time tested and patriotic in the spirit of Thoreau
  • anti-empire and pro-community
  • our future as a species and a planet

I generally eschew religious content online, but Rev. Michael Mortvedt’s clear tenets spoke to my own basic faith that humanity will soon realize the need to better protect and nurture our imperiled biosphere. There are seven billion of us now sharing this planet, like a single, magnificent Crystal Palace. We must amend our ways, and quickly, or future generations will surely pay for our sins. I found the type of information I was looking for at simplelivingforum.net and simplyliving.org, btw.

I tend to eschew Twelve-Step Programs, too, as I think we all have the power within ourselves to effect change, not only in our own lives but in the greater world around us. Yet I recognize how many souls are served by this approach and certainly see their intrinsic value. SimpleLiving.org offers a Twelve Steps Program on its Energy Addicts Page. Written by Rev. John H. Jackson, Co-Founder of Presbyterians for Restoring Creation Pennsylvania, his steps are based on the work of the Interfaith Coalition on Energy, which includes The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, The Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia and The Metropolitan Christian Council of Philadelphia.

One can’t help but wonder, is Harrisburg in need of an Intervention? Maybe Pennsylvania should be in shale gas recovery, now, before it does something drastic and seriously hurts itself. Fearful for our state’s future, I devised Twelve Steps of my own:

Twelve Steps for Shale Gas Addicts
A “Twelve-Step” Recovery Program approach is a way to focus attention on the healing process. This program is designed for Pennsylvania State Legislators who might still be in denial about the serious pollution dangers associated with industrial shale gas drilling.

1. We admit that we are powerless over our nation’s flagrant energy use, which is destroying this planet, and we admit that our addiction to the promise of shale gas has become unmanageable.

2. We believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity and wholeness. In God We Trust, is our nation’s motto still, so we trust that our state will gladly comply with strong Federal mandates designed to protect us from the intensely polluting industrial process of hydraulic fracturing.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Commonwealth, as we understand the Commonwealth. But we still want locally elected Zoning Boards to make the final judgment on drilling, pipelines and compressor stations in our communities.

4. We made a searching and fearless inventory of our uses for natural gas, and ways to better optimize and aggregate our consumption.

5. We admit to God, Jesus, Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Mother Nature, ourselves and all humanity the exact nature of our inappropriate use of energy, aging gas infrastructure, exploding gas mains, invisible air pollution and all.

6. We are entirely ready to remove all these defects of our Land, Air and Water.

7. We humbly ask the Commonwealth to eradicate our shortcomings, and not our neighborhoods, forests and watersheds.

8. We made a list of all the inhabitants of Earth we have harmed and are willing to make amends. We’ll not allow any more species decline.

9. We made direct amends to other markets of renewables whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. We continue to keep records of our energy use, and to track our excessive waste, and when we are using too much we promptly reduce our consumption.

11. We sought to improve our relationship with Gas; praying and striving for knowledge of true sustainability, and freedom from the misperception that gas drillers and the Corbett Administration have the power to fulfill God’s will.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to others who waste energy and promote fracking, and to practice these principles in our everyday lives.

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