The shift in energy has been swift and dramatic. This thought has been on my mind for months prior to the great Texas blackout of February 2021. Having lived in Austin for short time, I empathize with the plight of millions of people who were at the mercy of mother nature, unreliable technology and incompetent business and government leaders.
My original idea for this article started with these three lines:
- Energy is Currency
- Currency is Money
- Follow the Energy
I was planning to address the main patterns and trends I have observed since the US Elections in November 2020, namely the shifts in:
- Social energy and influence- communication and persuasion
- Distribution of energy- wealth and power
- Suppression or enhancement of energy- fossil fuels and renewables
Now, as I reflect on the physics book definition of energy and power, I have chosen to take a different angle. More on the three points above will come in Part 2 of this Energy blog.
While energy is the capacity for doing work and the ability to create change, power is energy per unit of time. These technical definitions can be applied to people, communities and governments.
I have been drawn to the concept of energy for weeks. Call it the Law of Attraction but my increased attention on the idea caused a sharp increase in energy related experiences in my life. Everywhere I look, I see energy analogies and references.
The word energy is a noun with 9 meanings (like my cat) while the word power has 20 meanings as a noun and 5 has a verb.
Power and energy are hot topics in the news and I can’t help but draw some parallels between what is happening with shifts in physical energy (potential and kinetic) with the dramatic changes in human energy (social and spiritual).
As world leaders create pacts and sign accords in an effort to reduce the impact of climate change on the planet, major changes in our fuel sources are being proposed. Renewable energy is all the rage as fossil fuels and nuclear energy are vilified. Wind and solar power are being elevated and pushed to replace coal, oil and natural gas. Our fuel mix is changing as painfully displayed during the Texas/ERCOT energy crisis of this month.
Our social fuel mix has also been dramatically altered. As an extrovert, I used to derive a good amount of energy from real, live interactions with others. Now, after 11 months of relative isolation, my energy levels are low. My ability to do work is diminished. My public speaking skills are stalling out and running on fumes.
As millions of Texans huddled in their homes for days without electricity or running water, I kept thinking, why didn’t ERCOT and the government plan ahead more for these situations. What were the contingencies plans if multiple lines of energy sources fail?
Taken to the human and social energy level, what have we done to replenish our emotional fuel sources that have been so abruptly and drastically reduced?
While Zoom meetings and online happy hours are trying to fill the gaps and maintain social connections, they are about as energizing as a Texas wind turbine on a 25 degree day.
Humans are social creatures by nature and need personal interactions to maintain healthy relationships and strong immune systems.
So as I enter an empty office building each day, I long for the in-person collaboration meetings and hallway greetings and interactions. Giving a speech in front of a live audience is something I crave more than chocolate. My Toastmaster clubs’ membership levels are anemic as we wait patiently for an infusion of energy. More than ever, I appreciate the power of human interaction and communication.
Like coming out of a freeze-induced power outage, I hope that the COVID-19 isolation impacts will thaw soon and allow us to recharge with the amazing energy of smiles, hugs and personal interactions.
When my Mom entered it room, it lit up with her smile. I miss her dearly and know that many people are craving that form of warmth and love.
A positive shift in energy and focus is needed to maintain the crucial connections that keep our communities strong.
The power of human interactions is sustainable and renewable and should not be neglected during times of crisis.