President’s Letter

Lee Wilwerding

Energy is an item that we take for granted in our daily lives. We expect it to be there whenever we flip the electrical switch or turn the key in the ignition and other than complaining about its cost we seldom focus on its sources or give any thought to the costs, environmental and financial, of producing the energy we so prodigiously consume.

On September 17th we propose to change that simplistic view of energy by sponsoring an Energy Discussion focused on the Rational Middle Energy series of films that explore many facets of the overall energy picture facing the citizens, i.e. you, of the US now and in the future. Our forum will only make use of three of the films produced by the Rational Middle in a 2-hour forum.

I strongly urge you to view the other films that are available at (http://rationalmiddle.com/movies/ ). I have viewed the vast majority of these films and gained a significant amount of knowledge of energy and in particular “fraking.” Despite having lived on the Eastern edge of the Barnett Shale formation in Texas, prior to moving to Hilton Head, during the height of the leasing activities I was inundated by “propaganda” by the energy giants, who wanted to drill across the street from my backyard and the NIMBY folks who were opposed to anything resembling a drill. Between those two extremes is the Rational Middle. We all want to continue to be able to flip the electrical switch or turn the key in the ignition but the time has come where we need to understand the implications of these simple acts and the various alternatives to making it happen.

Rational Middle Energy CenterGregory Kallenberg, producer and director of the Rational Middle Energy Series (www.rationalmiddle.com), will be the keynote speaker. The Rational Middle Energy Series uses the power of film and compelling experts to initiate a thoughtful conversation about the importance of energy issues regionally, nationally and globally.

According to Kallenberg, “We encourage individual, municipal, corporate and government action. We believe the ability to face all aspects of energy with civil, solutions-based discussions is critical to finding answers that will benefit all mankind.”

Kallenberg will also moderate a panel of energy experts and take questions from the audience.  Panelists will include: Alice Madden, former Principal, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental and External Affairs at the US Department of Energy and Climate Change Advisor to former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter; Kenneth Sercy the Utility Regulation Specialist for the Coastal Conservation League; and Bob Inglis, former US Congressman, founder of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University and recipient of the 2015 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

We are using a format of the films, panel discussion with a cast of energy experts and most importantly questions from you. There is no one solution to our energy needs in the future let alone a simple one. Where and how we develop this future will depend on educated consumers willing to make themselves heard on very complex issues. Come join us on September 17 at 2:00 at First Presbyterian Church to begin this educational foray. This special event is outside our normal Speaker Program and free to all World Affairs Council Hilton Head members. We are one of five Councils in the World Affairs Councils of America selected in a competitive grant application process to present this program to its members and the community. As with all our speaker programs, we encourage you to bring a guest.


Lee J. Wilwerding






World Affairs Council Hilton Head