The United Nations sponsored Conference on Climate change just opened in Warsaw, Poland. There will be many speeches and many people patting themselves on the back.
Haiyan just hit Philippines. The account of devastation is still to be determined. USA is being hit with severe weather or tornadoes flowing over the mid states like golf balls in a fancy neighborhood. In the meantime, Mount Etna is offering her “fireworks” for the cozy reunion in Warsaw. Many miles away but hard to miss if you are travelling through Europe in order to get to Warsaw. I guess it is a reminder to those politically affiliated as to WHO is in charge.
There are so many energy sources and many solutions. The cheapest one right now is the oil. The corporations, oil companies, find the sources in less developed countries and will exploit the profits while offering “reasonable price” to consumers in more developed countries. The oil sources will be extinct soon; in no more than ten years if not sooner.
Same corporations are now into “fracking”, extracting gas from shale with chemicals. This is to be the newest cleanest source of energy. Right now it is being exported from the source where it is being produced. In the meantime the cost to the land, people and their health exceeds any profits to humans unless they are share holders in the corporation that benefits from it. The accidents involving transports are many but rarely reported including the death toll and injuries to the inhabitants in the area where it happened.
Other source is coal. There are different grades of coal but there is no such thing as “clean” coal. The extraction of the coal cost many lives annually. It is also costly to environment and the health when it is being burned. If you think the coal is “clean”, put your palms on it, rub it on your face and look in a mirror.
Nuclear can be produced with new technology. It is expensive because requires solid and well built facilities to produce it and maintain it. The upfront costs are prohibitive for Corporations due to safety issues and expense associated with the construction that they would rather avoid. It should be under high scrutiny, controlled by the government that is not going to sell out to corruption(s). Governments have to hire contractors/corporations to design and build facilities. The Japanese plant in Fukushima did not pass the test. Neither did its designers and builders. The problem is disposal of the waste or “spent fuel”. Some can be recycled with new technology. It is costly and we have to decide if we want to pay for it. It may be an option. French are doing OK with it.
There are other different opinions. They include wind, turbine, and solar.
The wind “mills” trap and kill birds. Turbines kill fish, etc. We need birds and fish to survive. Solar may be OK but the production of solar panels requires mining for specific materials and it requires manufacturing or production that creates toxic waste.
In the meantime, we feel better driving more efficient cars, buying bulbs that use less energy but are a problem to dispose of when they are done. In some states you cannot dispose of those legally unless you go to a “special dump”. So you have to drive there or do it illegally. Then there are batteries, big and small, and those need proper disposal.
Manfred Max-Neef addressed the issue of economics and how it is closely intertwined with environment in many of his writings. In his version we are just stupid. We destroy environment by shipping products across the oceans with huge boats spewing diesel not mentioning other man made crap that is just a side product of the shipping “adventure”. Mr. Max-Neef mentioned butter, a product that can be done in any community; shipped from New Zealand to Brazil or Europe. That happens to Apple Juice as well. We can go on with the list. It is called insanity list.
Just imagine if consumer demand was reduced by 50%. The demand on the environment would be reduced by more than that. Corporations are making profits from consumerism. They seduce us with advertising and ideology that what you have is not enough. This is the right time for them to make you feel obligated and guilty if you do not overspend. They promote themselves as Christmas fans. Just take a look at Sara P’s., aka Pee-Weeeee screeching voice, new literary adventure re “Christmas”.
On the other hand, why not use the funds that we use most of the time to act like we want to be thanked for a Christmas gift that may be discarded to help others instead. Those that really need it. Let us start with Veterans and many homeless families with kids. How about preserving our natural resources?
Going to a store for more? Is it what we need or what we want? When you are watching “bad” weather: typhoon, tornado, floods, etc., on TV ask yourself how much your trips to Wall-Mart contributed to that? Goods were shipped. They are cheap. The oceans were polluted during shipping of the cheap goods. Some of the people who made them in far away land may be dead now. They lived in a country that did not provide any rights for them and most of all their safety was sold to the lowest bidder: The Consumer.
Maybe somebody in Warsaw will understand and put forward the only plan that will work. We need to respect each other in all societies, cultures, humanities and include respect for all life from an animal to a plant. That would be a good start.
I was born in Poland. Poland is known for its unprecedented hospitality. I hope it will set a precedent in the climate debate. Yes, You can.