Nineteen years ago I was introduced to the sport of cross country. The first meet I ever attended (and coached) was a HUGE event with dozens of middle and high schools participating. Our middle schoolers were invited to run – boys, girls, 7th and 8th graders en masse – with 400 some others in the final race. I left that day inspired and impressed by the qualities expressed:
- Everybody participates – no benchwarmers in this sport!
- There’s broad but minimal oversight by referees so runners have no reason to complain about perceived bad calls.
- Cross country encourages the life-sport of running which in turn fosters a healthy population.
- And here’s the best part – everyone cheers for all the runners. Of course spectators cheer especially loudly for their home team, but words of encouragement for all runners are generously offered.
So how could the broader world apply some of these principles? Like it or not, there’s ample evidence that use of carbon-based fuels such as oil, gas and coal that power our global economy severely adversely effects the well-being of our planet. Cross country lessons may be helpful in moving us in a healthier direction:
- Everyone can and must participate by using energy more wisely.
- It’s helpful to have some broad over-sight to make for a level playing field. But let’s let the marketplace drive energy innovation rather than imposing burdensome government regulations. A fee on carbon that returns all revenue collected to every American household as an annual dividend would be that type of market-driven possibility.
- Cleaner energy will foster a healthier population.
- And here’s the best part - we need to cheer for and support everyone’s contributions toward cleaner energy. The planet’s health is too important to let polarization and ideology cloud wise policy.