Dear President Obama

January 29, 2013

Dear President Obama,

Because you are committed to leading the world and our nation to respond to the realities of climate change, I encourage you to explore the example of the Rocky Mountain Institute. The RMI has been at work for the last 30 years gathering the creative minds and resources of business leaders in America who have created the path to energy independence and non-polluting technologies. Most important, however, are the RMI principles that are at the heart of the entrepreneurial spirit. I recommend that whatever you and your cabinet and staff put into action to turn toward a sustaining energy policy will follow similar rules of engagement. As you will see RMI leaders did not wait for the government to make changes but rather turned to creative minds and business leaders. As a result, the RMI has fostered incredible breakthroughs in new technologies. The solutions are already here. What you can help do is to bring it to scale.

The Eight Guiding Principles of Rocky Mountain Institute[1]

I highly recommend that Secretary Chu read Reinventing Fire[2].


Susan Feathers

Pensacola, Florida

Cc: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA), Ed Markey (D-MA)

[1] Rocky Mountain Institute:, Retrieved January 29, 2013.

[2] Reinventing Fire:, Retrieved January 29, 2013.

How to shape the future

Florida HammockOne of my personal occupations now is figuring out how to make a living doing what I believe is most important to do and to find joy in that process. Right now I am giving most of my time to worker-bee matters at a local university where I spend my day searching for funding for faculty research. I am wasting my creative energy, my intent in living, at something that brings me a paycheck, a medical plan, and a retirement account. So, I am trying to reinvent myself to continue “working” at home so that as I age, my mind and spirit can continue to contribute to the culture that I believe we are capable of creating together—a culture that values the ground under our feet, and that while we are in our virtual lives together, we  thoughtfully breathe the sweet air, notice the plants and animals that enrich our lives, and sink our feet deeper into the Earth, and DEFEND IT. What are we creating with the fantastic tools that the Internet and hand-held devices now make possible? Everywhere I see the creative energy that EVERYONE of us has inside of us wasted on low-level and spurious sound bytes on social marketing sites where very few people are sharing their best ideas and heart-felt thoughts. Here is a very thoughtful interview with Seth Godin who has devoted his life to exploring these ideas and has contributed to society by creating tools like Kickstarter, a crowd-sourcing site for artists to raise funds for their creative ideas. His point is that we are reaching too low when the tools everyone has access to (we are our own publisher, marketer, etc.) make the potential to draw people to an idea or take action, or use something we create that promotes the social good, a reality. Godin points out that we still think in hierarchical patterns, the industrial pecking order, rather than the reality that the net has created – anyone can create now, not just the people on the New York Times best seller list, or the Fortune 500 companies, etc. Yet, most of us have not noticed. In regards to creating a nation that leads on climate change and retools its very foundation to utilize non-carbon based energy sources, this realization is critical. Our leaders and citizens are locked into the belief that this is not feasible. The reason for our lack of vision is that our system is fundamentally set up to bring huge profits to a few individuals for something that is a part of the human commons – access to energy. So its up to us to create the new economy and new sources of energy and free ourselves from the system that is an energytocracy. Many people have been working on this for a long time but they have drawn few people to their ideas. How can we each help market these ideas so they become more widely embraced?

Walking Our Talk?

David Suzuki Foundation Legislative Action – Might Give US Citizen’s an Approach to Working with Congress. I like their “Let’s put some green in the next federal budget.”

Hogan Lovells Government Relations Report on Energy and the Environment: The courts and Executive Branch are likely to continue to drive the direction of energy policy in 2013. Key Administration priorities for 2013 include: reducing GHG emissions, and other pollutants; cleaning and restoring water resources; addressing climate change and energy production on public lands; reducing imports of crude oil; and, mitigating potential environmental impacts of domestic production. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is expected to conduct an inquiry into whether the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is in the public interest. Hydraulic fracturing will continue to receive attention on the Hill. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee will also consider the development of a clean energy standard and can be expected to increase the number of oversight investigations of the departments and agencies under its jurisdiction. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) remaining as Ranking Member. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will continue as Chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is the new Ranking Member. In the House, Fred Upton (R-MI) remains as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee with Henry Waxman (D-CA) as Ranking Member. Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA) will continue to serve as Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee with Ed Markey (D-MA) as Ranking Member (although a Senate bid may take the Congressman’s attention away from Committee work in early 2013).

Write these Congressional Leaders directly to let them know your thoughts on Tar Sands Oil Mining and the Keystone pipeline, as well as other energy and environmental issues.

View this video from the National Resource Defense Council to educate yourself on the environmental impact of mining tar sands all in the name of national security.  The pipeline will cross the U.S. and move oil from Canada to the Gulf. The Nebraska governor just changed his mind to support the pipeline in Nevada. He had previously opposed it and now believes it is a safe technology. What changed? Not the technology. Pressure for revenue and jobs once again cave resolve against harmful technologies that cause long term impacts on ecosystem and human health – all for short term gains. An old story in America and the cause of environmental regulation. Greed is a powerful force.

Read this report below by the Sierra Club: Tar Sands Pipelines Safety Report


On President’s Day Weekend, Sierra Club and will stand in solidarity to press President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline and to live up to his promise to take a leadership role to reduce the U.S. contribution to climate change and develop a national agenda for alternative clean fuel development. Those are the kinds of jobs we need.

Starting Over

BeachedWith the passing of my father last month I realized that I am no longer anyone’s child and that I have entered full adulthood – at 67 and counting. That is remarkable in and of itself but even more startling is the realization that I am starting over with the perspective of both my parents’ lives, beginning to end. The earth shifts. I had not read about this and am taken entirely by surprise.

What does it mean? I think it brings my own life more sharply in focus. Here’s what they inherited and what they did with it in the world they helped create. Now what am I doing, creating? Quite sobering as I approach my seventh decade on Earth.

While I have grieved my father’s passing, I have also experienced an unexpected sense of joy and peace, the deep understanding that I need not worry about anything. This has to be coming from a realm other than this planet because there IS certainly much to worry about. I choose to follow the guidance but to not stop working for a better future for my children and all the children to come. Is the message that we are to do what we can to help but to also find joy and to celebrate the gift of life on Earth?  I think so. Perhaps even it is a direct message from Dad and Mom (the original worry-wart).

Dad’s common refrains were “this too shall pass” and “in all probability things are unfolding just as they should be”.  I remember being frustrated by both when I wanted him to engage in cerebral hand wringing about climate change or poverty  or some other massive, intractable problem. He just refused to go there. I thought then it was a flaw but now I am rethinking that.