It might escape the average person who likes to delight in simple things, but to this observing eye things are much larger than they appear.
Take for example Niagara Falls, a tourist hot spot where thousands of people come every month to view the spectacle that is Mother Nature’s glory. Most recently it was announced, in order to preserve the natural state, the Parks Department will now use renewable energy to drive the ferry that brings sightseers up close and personal with the glorious waterfall.
To the appeasement of those who worship the green god of renewable energy, comes applause and marvel that we care so much to preserve Niagara as to make sure the ferry boats, themselves the size of three city buses, complete with restrooms and food service, are ‘green.’
Notwithstanding the enormous amount of metal that went into the construction of the new ferries, all of which had to be removed from the ground from some distant place, along with the many trucks and ships required to move this material to the ferry factories, vehicles using fossil fuels to get there, or bearing in mind the hundreds of people who drove their cars to work each day for over two years to build the ferries, and then finally the amount of concrete to build the parking lots that lead tourists in their cars to the Niagara Falls so people can take a ride on the all-new, renewable energy-powered Ferries.
One wonders if perhaps the better way to preserve Niagara in her natural state would be to simply keep humans beings away altogether.
And that is the point. Our cure is worse than the cause.
People see windmills and their heart palpitate with joy believing they are saving the earth when they don’t take into account the amount of cement, the number of trucks and the actual spent labor that goes into building just one wind mill. Or the materials we use to make solar cell batteries are themselves destructive to the environment and have to be buried away from any place where the materials can seep into the groundwater because of its long-lasting toxicity. People see the end result but they don’t see the amount of resources that goes into “being green.”
The only thing green is the amount of cash being made to save the planet.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s there was a real cry in California to move oil rigs out and away from the coastline. In fact, an oil seepage in the 60’s spawned the Earth Day movement. The idea was California were too pretty and two fragile to risk drilling (or extracting oil from the ocean floor where it literally seeps out of the ground).
Better still, we thought, let’s move our drilling operations overseas to places like Nigeria, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. We would then bring the oil back to the U.S. to power our fuel-effificent cars, but at least we don’t have to see those ugly oil rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel!
Imagine how much energy we would have saved if we didn’t import oil (decimating lands in the process)? This is why producing energy at home is smarter. That there is a risk of an oil spill here, or elsewhere is the price we pay for having the luxury of driving a nice car. But to pretend we are saving the environment by moving our production somewhere else is nothing but wishful and irresponsible thinking.
For those who claim to care about the environment they don’t think of the cure being worse than the disease.
Besides, our greater problem isn’t fossil fuels, it’s consumption. We consume much more than we need, we waste, our packaging creates massive waste, plastics alone account for a majority of trash in our oceans, in large part due to the atrocious practice of many developing countries of dumping waste offshore. America does have a vibrant recycling program, among the best of any developed nation, in fact,. according to the EPA
The IPCC and UN strategy to research and create massive bureaucracy to “address climate change” is a complete waste of resources because it is based on the false premise that “warming” is being created by excess carbon dioxide, itself a result of carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels.
We have all heard it so much it starts to feel like an implanted concept being used to make us think we have handle on the situation. But we aren’t looking at the big picture, we only want to address fossil fuels because it is cheap and abundant, which makes it less profitable for nations who use the green energy movement to generate cashflow for more expensive (and less efficient) technologies.
Carbon is produced by the earth naturally. Carbon is energy and it comes in many forms. Coal and oil are naturally produced storehouse of carbon from plants and certain forms of raw materials compressed over eons of time. To say fuel is “dirty” or “clean” is to indicate the amount of energy is output from the source. So called “dirty energy” produces more BTU’s because there is more carbon contained in the energy source (assuming we are talking about coal and oil).
Renewable energy still must be extracted from the source; the wind must turn the blades of a windmill to create electricity, but the raw materials that go into producing the windmill use more energy than the windmill can produce in twenty years.
Put it this way. If you wanted to cook a piece of stake on a bar-b-que grill, you use two pieces of coal weighing less than 16 ounces and you would be eating a cooked steak in less than 30 minutes. To cook that same piece of steak with a solar-heated grill would require 72 hours of energy being extracted from the sun, stored in a battery made of compound that required extraction (energy).
It’s the same energy (converted to heat) it just comes in a concentrate (coal), or from the sun (real time energy stored in accumulated amounts).
The question you ask is what ultimately is going to require less energy extraction, expensive man-made machines that pull energy from nature in real time (sun, geothermal, wind), or what nature has already produced in the form of compact energy that is literally in the ground?
I do believe there is use good use of solar and wind, as well as nuclear.
Don’t get me wrong. I am in favor of clean energy as long as the process we use to get there isn’t dirty. Nuclear energy is probably the most compact energy we have available, and hydrogen is by far the least expensive form of energy with the least amount of residue, but it is also very cheap and not as profitable as, say, building an enormous wind farm that makes millions of dollars for developers.
In the end though, it is our consumption that is making earth “dirty”, not the use of energy itself, but of raw materials and waste left over.
Priority for humanity should be clean water, clean air, and healthy food sources.
If all of those bureaucrats who fly in airplanes and drive those large black cars to attend climate sessions really want to do something that benefits humanity, let them them figure out how to stop wasting energy in the first place and stop promoting consumption of things like, renewable Ferries – so we can get close enough to Niagara to pull the plastic bottles out of the water and feel like we are saving the planet.
A common sense approach to reducing waste is a more attainable goal. We have luxury and we can continue to have comfort; we don’t have to live in the stone age or pay high electric bills, we just have to live within our means and stop shopping every fucking day just to find something to do. Let’s walk more, and eat better.
Let’s use common sense when coming up with ways to be better human stewards of our earth by cleaning it up and reducing waste, and not be tempted to create massive plans that call for an enormously large, one-size-fits-all approach that does nothing to make things cleaner.
What we don’t need is ignorant and negligible energy policy that makes people poorer with less electricity in their homes. This will not clean up the planet. Making energy more expensive will not save the earth.
Stop thinking like Greta Thunberg!
I live with people who are extremely conscience of the environment. My wife even cleans the plastics before we put them in the recycle bin. And yet the amount of waste by-product is admittedly, embarrassing.
How about your house?
Let’s start with our houses and our own lives.
That does seem to be the only practical answer.
JIm Watkins is an author and podcast host of Right Now! with Jim Watkins, and is a 30-year journalist with special interest in climatology, earth sciences and anthropology research.