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Having an attitude of gratitude

It is always good to take some time and look back at all of the things we have to be thankful for. For years I have started each day by thinking of at least 3 things to be thankful for. I learned this from a good friend. He said it puts our mind into an abundance mentality rather than a lack mentality and creates a positive attitude. I would agree based on my experience.

This year has been different because of my injury. I’m always thankful for my wife, children, grandchildren, friends, freedom and many other things. I really appreciate my wife for all the extra she has had to do and my children for their support in so many ways and also friends who helped out, visited, sent get well wishes, supported and encouraged us. I’m also grateful for all of my care givers, nurses, therapists and doctors. When I look at the big picture it is quite a Team. We really can’t do it alone. We need help and support. I’ve had a little more time to think and notice things these past few weeks. We need to be thankful but it is also important to actually tell people, “Thank you.” They need to hear it.

After all that has been going on in Washington (or lack of it) we may be sick of politics even before the election year starts. As an engineer, coach and college instructor, I always try to help people to understand things a little better and improve their lives. When it comes to energy I don’t care what letter D, R or I comes after a person’s name. I care about my family and people in general. We are all entitled to an opinion. We may not like gravity but it is a scientific law we have to live with. The information I’m sharing with you isn’t political. It is basic science and engineering. It is like gravity. We don’t have to like it. We do have to live with it. We need to understand it.

After spending over two weeks in the hospital, I’m thankful for fossil fuels not just for heat and electricity but all of the thousands of products they make possible. Medical equipment like CT scanners and MRI machines made with petrochemicals from fossil fuels helped doctors to diagnose my problem. Medical gloves and plastic packaging helped to prevent infection. Syringes gave me life -saving medications. Blood pressure, respiratory and heart monitoring equipment, IV bags and tubing, sutures especially dissolving sutures and blood tubes all helped to save my life and that of other patients. Even my wheelchair is made mostly from petrochemicals. That is just a start.

Without modern medicine from fossil fuels and all of these products, most of the patients who were in the hospital with me would probably not have survived. Many of those lucky enough to survive would likely die later of infection that plastic packaging and gloves helps to prevent. We have a grandson with a shellfish allergy. An Epipen made with plastic from fossil fuels saved his life. My surgery was scheduled on at a specific time and date. We didn’t need to wait for a sunny day. We need wind and solar in our energy mix. But we need to remember three things about these energy sources;

Renewables only provide one product, electricity. Fossil fuels can provide electricity, heat and are the feedstock for thousands of products we all use every day.

Renewables only operate when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. They require a backup energy source, typically natural gas. The sun only shines an average of 12 hours a day. This time of the year, we have only 10 hours of daylight. We need electricity 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Imagine coming home to a cold dark house after work in January.

Modern renewables need fossil fuels to exist. Petrochemicals are required in the manufacture of these energy sources and to move them to market. Windmill blades are always hauled by a truck built and fueled by fossil fuels not a 20-mule team. The battery storage used currently and proposed also requires fossil fuels in its manufacture.

We have a grandson in the Marines. Another reason I’m thankful for fossil fuels is that our military runs on fossil fuels. You can’t run a fighter jet on wind or a tank on solar power and know it will operate when needed. The equipment and weapons systems my grandson uses are petrochemical based. I can’t imagine my grandson facing an enemy without modern military equipment.

There are also those folks who want to ban hydraulic fracturing or fracking. It is important to know that practically EVERY natural gas and oil well requires fracking. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the USA, Russia, Iran or Saudi Arabia. No fracking means no petrochemicals. It means people die today. We can choose to ban fracking here and get our natural gas and oil from Russia and OPEC who operate under their own environmental law. Not a good idea in my opinion. In the last 10 years the USA has become the number one oil and gas producer in the world. In that same period of time we have decreased pollution and lowered CO2 by 14% according to IEA.

We have an opportunity to bring high wage permanent jobs back to the USA and the Shale Crescent USA. We can raise the standard of living for people in this Region. The process has started. All of my students had $50- $60,000 per year jobs months before they graduated from tech school. There has been an increase in engineering jobs where I live. I have friends in the skilled trades that were unemployed and will earn over $100,000 this year.

I’m also thankful to live in a country where we have free speech. Where we can have civil discussions. Where people can choose to learn and even change their minds. We have much to be thankful for! Thoughts to ponder.

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Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry.

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