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You either use it or you lose it

It was just a year ago. Laying in my hospital bed I watched my leg muscles shrink, wasting away because I couldn’t put any pressure on them. I could work my upper body and keep those muscles in tone. My arms got me to my wheelchair and in and out of the car. Muscles lose tone and get weak when not used. COVID patients who have spent weeks in a hospital bed have a lot of work to do once they beat the virus to get their physical strength back. It took over 6 months to regain the muscle strength I lost in 6 weeks. We must use our muscles or lose strength.

One of the challenges we had with our high school soccer players was maintaining their strength during the two weeks our county was code red in the middle of the season. We could suggest drills they could do at home on their own without supervision. We couldn’t supervise. It was up to the individual whether they did any exercises or not. Fortunately, most were motivated enough to do the work on their own. We still had to make up for lost time when we got back to practice. The boys were ready when play started.

We have a lot to be to be thankful for. I got an email from a young lady I met through one of my professional speaker friends. She came to the U.S. from eastern Europe. Her comments should send a message to all Americans about how blessed we are. She wrote, “This was my first time ever voting (moved to U.S. at 17 and since I’m a citizen now I can vote). I have to say tho I am super impressed with the whole electoral process.” She was moved to learn more about our founding fathers and amazed at how they were able to create a system that would withstand the test of time to keep balance in our nation.

Because of our freedom and economic opportunity, this young lady started her own business, a reminder how unique and precious our system of government “by the people” is. Free and fair elections are not common in the world. It is easy for us to take voting for granted because we grew up with it and don’t know any other system. Personal liberty and economic opportunity we have in the U.S. is rare in the world. If we take it for granted and fail to vote, we could lose it.

Our country is rich with natural resources. We have abundant coal, oil, natural gas, natural liquids and other resources. I look at these resources like the personal talents we all have. They are not for our sole benefit. I believe they are gifts from the Almighty to be used wisely to make the world a better place.

It is like the Biblical parable of three servants who were given talents (money) by their master before he went on a long journey. One servant was given 10 talents. By the time his master returned he had earned 10 more. Another servant was given 5 talents. He earned 5 more. These servants were praised and welcomed to share their master’s joy. They were also given greater responsibilities. The third servant out of fear, buried the one talent his master gave him and returned it to him when he returned. The master was furious calling the servant “wicked” and “lazy.” He had him thrown out into the darkness.

There are people in our country who believe we should be like the wicked servant and keep our fossil fuels in the ground rather than using them to make the world better. Some of these same people are fine with windmills, solar panels and electric cars. There is nothing wrong with any of these as long as it is understood fossil fuels are required to manufacture them. They also require rare earth metals from China that create radioactive lakes and kill people from cancer. The batteries for storing this energy and for electric cars require cobalt. Cobalt mining has serious environmental issues. Most of the world’s cobalt comes from the Congo. It is mined in places by children. The miners are subject to hazardous conditions and cobalt laden dust causing lung disease. Increasing demand for renewable energy will also increase demand for all of these materials having environmental and social justice issues. They just happen to be out of site and out of mind for Americans.

American natural gas is cleaning the air in places like India. The U.S., according to the IEA, is the only major nation meeting the Paris Agreement climate targets, even though we are not part of the agreement. Americans shouldn’t allow themselves to become dependent on nations who are continuing to increase their emissions, carbon footprint and neglect the human rights of their people. We shouldn’t give up energy independence and pay more for our gasoline and electricity in order to keep our fossil fuels in the ground. If we destroy the industries making economical energy and feedstock possible we can lose them, our energy independence and ability to manufacture.

American natural gas and natural gas liquids have created the opportunity to bring high wage manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and our region. They make possible the PPE our front- line healthcare workers need and medical equipment all people need. They are the feedstock for thousands of products Americans use like cell phones. They are the back-up fuel for renewables because they can provide energy 24/7. If we choose to lose them rather than use them we put manufacturing jobs and lives at risk. We can create the environmental disaster people want to avoid.

We have a lot to be Thankful for. We are smart and creative. We can work together to use the resources we are blessed with to create a better world for all people.

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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. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.

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