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PRINT November 2008

HELENE FURJAN

R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER LIVED THROUGH the oil crisis of 1973 and ’74, and through the energy-conservation and alternative-energy movements it spawned—and then he watched those movements sidelined by corporate interests. It may be that these events only strengthened his conviction that humanity can and must learn to live “entirely within its cosmic-energy income,” e.g., waterpower, tidal power, wave power, wind power, vegetation-produced fuels, methane gas, and so on. The alternative—to dip into our “cosmic-energy savings account” and spend our “cosmic capital” by using fossil fuels and nuclear power—was, for him, a “folly no less illogical than burning your house-and-home to keep the family warm on an unprecedentedly cold midwinter night.”1

Thirty-five years later, with prices for oil and gasoline rising to unheard-of heights, and with lobbyists for fossil fuels and nuclear generators still

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