BMBB in Mar/Apr Atlantis Rising magazine
Atlantis Rising magazine
March/April 2005 ISSUE 50
(On newsstands everywhere by mid-February)
REPORT FROM THE FRONT
Tracking the News of the Coming Energy Revolution
Sovereign Nations Fund Clean Energy
By Jeane Manning
While learning about an upcoming symposium on batteries and motors, I had
the privilege of talking with Native American tribal leader Ed McGaa, known
as Eagle Man. I couldn't help thinking that if Eagle Man were scientifically
inclined, which he says he isn't, he'd take notice of the late Austrian
forester and inventor Viktor Schauberger's ideas. Harmony with nature was
Schauberger's theme, and it's also McGaa's. For countless generations, his
people walked the talk.
Before we get to his story, however, let's find out why McGaa-a lawyer,
registered Oglala Sioux, author of books about native spirituality-will be
the keynote speaker at the Better Motors, Better Batteries (BMBB) symposium
on March 5. And why this technical meeting will be held at the Pequot
Museum, which owes its success to the Foxwood Casino next door in
The BMBB symposium will be about smaller, lighter, cheaper, faster batteries
and motors. No surprise there. But it's more than just a gathering of
technophiles. The meeting will bring together an unusual mixture of people
who have the potential to cooperatively make good things happen-a state's
technology council, people from energy-related companies, perhaps experts in
non-conventional energy sources, and Native American business competitors
who are a formidable force when they unite and put their money where their
spiritual/environmental mottos are. You can see that a seasoned leader such
as McGaa can set the tone for uniting Native Indian tribal groups for a
The symposium plans came about because in nearby Weston, Connecticut, the
think-tank Environmental Library Fund (ELF) is encouraging the win-win
strategy behind it. A press release says the symposium, cosponsored by the
ELF and its partner the electric-vehicle publication Electrifying Times, can
be an opportunity for technological companies in Connecticut to preserve
energy innovations in the state as well as revolutionize other aspects of
R&D and manufacturing of energy components.
The http://www.bmbb.biz website explains "What will set this symposium apart
from other such professional meetings is that ELF, through its long and
respectful relationship with Native American environmental interests, is
guiding profits generated by Indian Casino Gaming into viable and profitable
Remy Chevalier, founder of the Environmental Library Fund, says both casinos
in the area are creating new ways of doing business in Connecticut, in tune
with their earth-stewardship and spiritual heritage. The Pequot museum is in
part funded by
earnings from Foxwood casino.
Chevalier told me about visiting the other Native American casino nearby. He
describes the Mohegun Sun as one of the country's most impressive green
buildings. Built by the Mohegan Tribe in 1996, the casino has a
Mohegan-themed design, and
outstanding architecture. The Sky Dome-the world's largest planetarium
dome-provides the casino with an ever-changing display of constellations. A
seven-story waterfall adds to the experience. Chevalier says, "You plug in
your quarter in that setting and you feel like you're donating to Gaia." The
Foxwood casino has a Hard Rock Café which has "Save the Planet" emblazoned
above its logo.
Chevalier felt further inspired to urge McGaa, author of successful books
such as Nature's Way, published by Harper Collins, and Mother Earth
Spirituality (in its 33rd printing) to speak at the motors/batteries
symposium. McGaa could help connect alternative energy professionals-and
innovative research-with tribal interests in the Northeast. In keeping with
the Pequot Museum's focus, McGaa will talk about environmental defense as it
relates to the Native American heritage. The aim of the BMBB conference is
to help restore a balance between energy-technology trade overseas and the
need to preserve factory floor "handson" jobs in the state. Eco-awareness
combined with bold business decisions could bring about that balance, it
For more than the 14 years I've known him, Chevalier has been pushing for a
seriously funded project, supported with financial resources and expertise
at the level of the historical Manhattan Project, to develop and
commercialize clean-energy breakthroughs. His passion for the environment
dates back to a life-changing night on a beach when he was a teenager-
experiencing the cosmos as an interconnected web of life.
Chevalier also has a history of connecting seemingly divergent elements. The
nightclub in New York known as Wetlands became a hangout for enviros and a
place to put sustainable-living information out there in an innovative way,
due to his relentless promotion of the concept. He also successfully
promoted the combining of fashion magazines and eco-awareness.
To get serious about weaning our society away from polluting energy
technologies, maybe we need to put it into a totally new context, he told me
recently. Expecting big government or megacorporations to fund a shift away
from the status-quo of dirty energy technologies had been unrealistic.
Perhaps now his home state's job-drain crisis, along with factors such as
purses full of coins draining into casinos, can be transformed into that
opportunity. His new concept fits with Chevalier's respect for the insights
of genuine Native American environmental and spiritual leaders.
What was that about a job-drain? Chevalier replies that Connecticut is
referred to in energy circles as The Fuel Cell State. For 30 years, most
fuel cells for space and military applications were made in the state. But
when civilian uses of fuel cells became attractive, the manufacturing of
fuel cells began to spread around the world-mainly to Japan, and now to
China. Connecticut therefore is now faced with a hemorrhaging of
state-of-the-art energy conversion technologies away from their birthplace.
Chevalier says this could negatively impact future generations of Americans,
financially and strategically. On the other hand, Connecticut's availability
of skilled workers could be turned into an advantage.
Chevalier feels that too much undue attention to fuel cells has diverted
focus from improving the efficiency of 100% electrical battery storage (the
buzz words of the moment are nanotech and aerogel) as well as from improving
motor efficiency. Most commercial motors today are still copper wound.
Improving pure electrical battery storage and making motors more efficient
would at long last enable the mass production of a truly revolutionary
generation of electric vehicles. Chevalier says this could give Connecticut,
and more specifically, Indian lands in that state, amazing new high tech
General Electric and makers of many of today's commercial electric motors
call Connecticut home. GE, by the way, inaugurated a wind power division
recently. One of the world's largest suppliers of consumer batteries,
Duracell, is headquartered in the state, and Eveready and Rayovac also have
facilities there. Those corporations, however, don't rock the
vested-interest boat with truly revolutionary new energy products. Instead,
they competitively improve on old technologies that in my opinion have
little hope of liberating us from King Oil and the Nasty Nukes. Yes, nukes
too. Building many more nuclear fission plants is part of the establishment
vision for a "hydrogen economy."
Wind and solar are allowed by megacorporate interests, it seems, as long as
those alternatives don't get so cost-effective and widespread that they
replace the nation's fossil-fuel addiction. Right now those standard
renewable-energy alternatives provide only a tiny fraction of America's
power needs. They aren't any threat to oil's dominance in the world.
If mega-corporations won't lead an energy revolution, who will? Perhaps
sovereign states are the answer. The tiny country of Monaco is contributing
to electric vehicle state-of-the-art with the 0-60 in 3.4 seconds Venturi
Fetish. Gibraltar has its breakthroughs too-an electric motor named Chorus,
which takes advantage of harmonic resonances rather than trying to suppress
them. Instead of reshuffling the 50-year-old basic electric motor, the
company in Gibraltar has something really new, with five times the
performance of other motors in the class. They recently signed a deal with
Boeing Phantom Works. Underestimated independent little countries are
finding their stride.
Speaking of sovereignty, of course in North America it's been reclaimed by
BMBB Symposium keynote speaker Ed McGaa is one of those independent Native
Americans with a history of standing up for what he believes is right. He
joined up for the Korean War at age 17, came back as a Marine Corporal,
earned an undergraduate degree, then later rejoined the Marine Corps to
become a Phantom F4 fighter pilot in Vietnam. When he returned to his home,
the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, he was a much-decorated veteran.
Eight days later, he jumped into law school at the state university. All
along, his most revered teachers were Sioux holy men Chief Eagle Feather and
Chief Fool's Crow. His association with them started in the 1950s when the
Sun Dance secretly resurfaced. Ben Black Elk was another close mentor.
McGaa danced in six annual Sioux Sun Dances. The Sun Dance led him to the
seven Mother Earth ceremonies. McGaa was immersed in learning from his
people's holy men, even flying them in light planes to offreservation
ceremonies. Native spiritual ceremonies were still banned by the U S
government. For a while the forbidden ceremonies took place in the most
remote parts of the Badlands, until an elder said it was not right to hide
their ceremonial activities.
One year McGaa stood alone in defiance of a priest who once again arrived at
the Sun Dance tree, in a truck carrying a portable altar, to stop a four-day
Sun Dance from continuing on a Sunday. McGaa was the victor in the
confrontation. The next year McGaa brought members of the American Indian
Movement, who stood by while the Oglala Sioux had their Sun Dance. The year
after that the AIM members participated. The ban on the ceremonies wasn't
declared unconstitutional until the U.S. Congress' Freedom of Religion Act
in 1978 finally recognized the injustice.
What does this have to do with new energy-related research and development?
My reply is that it's an attitude thing. The prevalent political mindset in
the western industrialized countries consistently places barriers in front
of truly revolutionary new energy inventions and consistently manipulates
taxpayers into propping up fossil fuels and nuclear fission. I've written
enough about those barriers erected by the bureaucratic/ academic/
corporate/ military/ media establishment. The liberating clean-energy
revolution won't be started by that fossilized-attitude club. Now I'm hoping
that funding for new energy developments will come from some unexpected
direction, possibly from some group or nation that has the guts to stand
alone for what it believes is right-cleaning up Mother Earth's waters, air,
soils and whatever else we've polluted.
Will our Native Americans be such a group? McGaa in all honesty admits that
not every one of the people known as American Indians lives by the
traditional ethic of respect and harmony with nature. On his home
reservation, however, most of the young people are returning to their
spiritual heritage. It seems to me that we should have another look at that
heritage, as well as to keep an eye on the momentum that McGaa could help
start in Connecticut.
McGaa says, "Our beliefs and commonsense culture are very different from
Dominant Society." His books call for a major change in the way people
relate to the world. McGaa says if we begin to live by the principles that
are demonstrated by the world of nature itself, we will then be in harmony
with the world, rather than taking from it destructively. For instance, he
discusses lessons humans can learn from animals, such as the lioness's
aptitude for balancing male and female energy.
I haven't read McGaa's new book yet, so will quote Chevalier's review which
sums up this topic. He says McGaa makes one realize that the native American
love and unity with the earth is not just some greenwashing PR scam.
Further, Chevalier recommends the book to people who are fascinated by
native culture's sudden regaining of control over their lives-a luxury
afforded to them by the realization that sovereignty over their lands
entitles all Indian tribes to a slew of business opportunities never before
"If the growing cash flow of reservation casinos can translate into
environmental industries, which it already has at resorts like the Mohegan
Sun in Connecticut, this book may very well be the rallying call tribal
leaders needed to make strength in numbers."