Dear Editor:

Greetings!... In the article, "Oil Embargo Left Legacy of Efficiency," (S.F. Chronicle, 1/2/99), 1999) it stated that the cost of a barrel of oil is at an all time low of $10 - $11 per barrel. Appearances can be deceptive, particularly in this case... To determine the "true" cost of oil, one needs to account for the additional economic, ecological and biological costs of oil:

  1. Last year, insurance claims due to unprecedented weather disturbances (global warming) amounted to $90 billion - Plus the destruction of vast acres of agricultural lands, crops, and soil. Cost to be determined...
  2. The cost of maintaining a standing army to protect our national interests (oil) in the middle east, and elsewhere. Approximately $280 billion/year...
  3. The health consequences of an oil based economy: Air pollution, water pollution, and the disruption of the food chain is primarily responsible for the dramatic increase in degenerative diseases such as: cancer, heart disease, obesity, and other environmental/nutritional man-made diseases. Approximately $1 trillion/year.

It's time to come out of denial, and realize that the real costs of oil is more like $100/barrel instead of $10/barrel... The truth is, we are all paying for the systematic disruption/destruction of the earth's eco-system; which is primarily due to the excessive burning of oil and the excessive use of petro-chemically based pharmaceutical drugs, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides...

Apocalypse Now: The Wild Weather of '98
The 2,000 wildfires that ravaged north Florida and the floods that inundated Ohio this summer may be the latest brute warnings from Mother Nature, but in no sense are they "natural" disasters. In both cases, the forces of development combined with global warming to create catastrophes that (here's hoping) can serve as a wake-up call.

The unprecedented rash of fires in Florida - which incinerated a half million acres, causing property losses of a quarter billion dollars - can't be explained as part of any natural cycle. To be sure, fire is known to revitalize areas - burning away scrub, causing certain plants to drop seeds. But what ravaged Florida was a holocaust, not a rebirth. Summer fires - once contained by swamps and natural channels of water - this year burned out of control. The wetlands had long since been drained, replaced by development and factory farms. So when fire came, the vital groundwater was no longer there to restrain it.

Floridians have learned all too well that something unnatural has happened to the weather. Even the state's right-wing Republican U.S. Senator Connie Mack says the wildfires made him a believer.

There are also plenty of believers now in the northwestern Appalachians, ravaged by the worst floods in not-so-distant memory. Two "100-year floods" inundated the upper Mississippi Valley in the mid-1990s. Recently, much of southeastern Ohio was washed away in torrential rains. At least one town may be permanently abandoned. The tornado season this spring was the deadliest in 24 years. Since the beginning of 1997, $13 billion in damage has been done by the weather.

Something is haywire. The fires and floods of this apocalyptic season should carry a message: The environmental movements is no longer a fringe affair. When summer fires force complete counties to evacuate, when repetitive floods make whole towns permanently unlivable, something is afoot. Our approach to it demands what Albert Einstein begged for at the birth of the atomic age: "A whole new way of thinking." - Author: Harvey Wasserman, Business Ethics magazine

The Natural Wealth of Nations proposes a surprisingly simple, common-sense solution to get us moving quickly towards an environmentally sustainable economy that will preserve the earth for future generations.

First, we can stop throwing away an estimated $650 billion a year in government subsidies worldwide that fund actions that harm the environment and cost consumers and taxpayers - even as they slow economic development and reduce employment. In addition, we can shift taxes, easing up on activities we say we want more of, like work and investment, and getting the tax revenues we need by raising taxes on activities we want to discourage, like burning fossil fuels or producing toxic wastes.

Combining cuts in subsidies and tax shifting would free up $1.5 trillion worldwide, funds that could be used to cut taxes on wages and profits by up to 15 percent - without changing overall tax revenues. In the U.S. a family of four would get a net income tax cut of $2,000. Polls already show overwhelming support for tax shifting. Six European nations have already cut taxes on work and investment and shifted the tax burden to air pollution, fossil fuels, or landfilling. (Reprint, Worldwatch Institute, 1776 Mass. Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036

All The Power That Ever Was Or Ever Will Be Is here Now...

THE LIGHT PARTY proposes the creation of The Gaia/Solaris Consortium, an international corporation whose primary responsibility is to bring on-line, as rapidly as possible, clean, efficient energy resources which are in full alignment and harmony with the forces of nature. These include: cold fusion, photovoltaics, wind energy, bio-mass (cultivation of hemp), ocean thermal energy conversion, and hydrogen fuel to name but a few. These technologies will serve to decentralize the highly destructive, fossil fuel, medical/military industrial economic complex which is primarily responsible for our current global socio-economic and ecological "crisis"...

Indeed, NOW is the time to Turn To The Sun, empower each other to use our tremendous resources, intelligence and technology to create A Sustainable Global Solar Hydrogen Economy...

To Learn more, visit our website at, see "Project Light" and "Economic Reform."


Da Vid, M.D.
Medical Director, The San Francisco Medical Research Foundation
Founder, The Light Party

Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.

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