Friday, March 09, 2007
Greetings to my patient blogosphere readers. My last post was in June 2006, on human extinction and the infinite chain of creation. Then my ecospiritual world turned upside down.
In January, a NC Public Utilities Commission hearing for Duke Power’s request to build two new huge coal-fired plants at their Cliffside facility in Rutherford County approached. It was good timing, for a special study authorized by the state legislature had reported in December that, with conservation, efficiency and promoting renewables, the state did not need any new power plants for ten years. Karen’s straightforward remark a fortnight before the hearing, “If you’re anti-nuclear, you’re pro-coal” was irrefutable, so I decided I had to speak out. Then I started to back away, feeling inadequate to the task of defending my position, most of all among my environmental and ecospiritual friends. Two nights before the hearing, I had a dream which sealed the decision. “Ol Blackie”, the workhorse Ford pickup powered by a V-8 350 Cleveland engine with which I built my homesteading base, was swamped with brown-black dusty coal at a garbage compacting station while I napped in the front row of an auditorium whose stage was the truck, coal, and compacter. Okay, I get it.
My testimony was against coal, for renewables and conservation, and for nuclear power. I identified myself as a lifelong environmentalist, and spoke of the twin vise of Peak Oil and Climate Change, ending with the prayer, “God help us.” That night I appeared on two television stations, one highlighting my testimony against coal, the other focusing on the pro-nuclear stance. The Charlotte Observer ran an article that included a quote which surprised me, but I must own, since I remember hearing myself saying it in a departure from my prepared text: “We must build as many as we can wherever we can,” which coincides with the definitive MIT study which calls for a threefold expansion of nuclear power plants worldwide by 2050 to avert climate catastrophe.
So, dear reader, here we are. The philosopher-teacher has taken a public stand, politics has intruded, and I huddle once again at the keyboard. Another dream has come, where my one year-old grandson has lumps of coal in his diapers. As for the hearing, the Utilities Commission refused to authorize but one of the plants Duke Power requested. (I hope many of you know about the improbable victory over TXU’s plan to build 11 new coal plants in Texas. With inspired intervention by lawyers from EDF and others, the company was bought out by a consortium of banks with an agreement to build only three of them). You’re going to be hearing from me regularly again. And I’d like to hear from you, especially inviting my readers to share stories of effective ways to motivate people to change energy habits - starting with you.
Labels: carbon mitigation
I've pulled together the facts about global warming and its remedies: conservation, renewable energy, and nuclear energy, on a web page called Global Warming: A Guide for the Perplexed
As I outline it there, I think all three remedies have to be employed.
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