Saturday, February 16, 2013

Energy renewed

photo of canada geese and swans in spring marsh
© harrington
Thanks for stopping by. Welcome. In a few more weeks, some of my neighbors (see photo) should have returned from their southern vacation. Others have stuck around and braved the winter with us. Let me ask you a question: would you or your neighbors want a frac sand mine next to your houses? Let me try another: would you want sand trucks driving ceaselessly along the same county roads that school buses use to take your kids to and from school? Let's assume I can guess your answers to those questions (I don't think it's Yes). Then, the next question becomes: why should our other neighbors accept those risks and inconveniences so we can save money on our heating bills? We can create alternative jobs with solar and wind energy, with energy retrofits on houses to save heating bills. We don't need frac sand and we don't need fracking to produce natural gas. There are alternative paths we can follow and those paths don't involve fracking the environment and our neighbors, and, maybe our neighbor's kids, to save a few bucks burning natural gas that's a "clean" fossil fuel, which means it's only about half as dirty as coal or oil. In my lifetime, I've shoveled coal into the basement furnace of a triple decker in Dorchester (look it up, it's one of Boston's neighborhoods). I've spent a fair amount of time in deer camp cabins heated with wood stoves. Places in Colorado limit wood burning because of air pollution but our "representatives" in D.C. can't get their heads around climate change. (Bet you thought I was going to write something else after "heads," didn't you?) At home, we just replaced a fuel oil furnace with a 97% efficient natural gas furnace. Would I rather heat my house with renewable electricity? Yes. Would it be easy to do that today? NO. Why? Because renewable energy doesn't get anywhere near the subsidies that fossil fuels get. Renewable energy, in general, doesn't screw up the environment as much as fossil fuels. At least I haven't yet read about solar energy advocates blowing the tops off of mountains to build collector systems. I hate to say this because I don't like to admit I've made a mistake but, the way things are going in Washington, I wish I'd voted for Hilary. Now my wife and daughter can say I told you so, but that's not the point. Between weak-kneed democrats and weak-brained republicans, we citizens have to show some leadership and lean on those who are supposed to represent us and not the corporate persons who fund their campaigns. (By the way, I'll accept that corporations are persons when one of them is sentenced to death.) Thanks for listening. Go eat something good and renew your own energy. By the way, if it's not clear what all of this has to do with My Minnesota and enjoying the clean air and water we're suppose to have, send me a comment and I'll arrange for private tutorials on connecting dots. More writing and rants on wrongs and raves on rights tomorrow. Meanwhile, there's a group headed for D.C. and a hearing in St. Paul. Please think about what you can do to support those folks. We need their help and they need our support. Stay warm and well in the meantime.