ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Column - We ignore nasty reminders at our peril

We humanoids in this arrogant world need a nasty reminder every now and then that we ain't quite so smart as we think we are. For example, can anything be quite as stupid as building a nuclear power plant at the very edge of an earthquake fault z...

We humanoids in this arrogant world need a nasty reminder every now and then that we ain't quite so smart as we think we are.

For example, can anything be quite as stupid as building a nuclear power plant at the very edge of an earthquake fault zone?

Remember the Titanic? That foolproof ship that sank to the bottom of the ocean on its maiden voyage?

Most people, I would hope, can remember the crisis at Three-Mile Island in America and the lethal catastrophe at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union.

More recently, who can forget the massive oil seepage into the Gulf of Mexico? Let's remember, that is only one of many destructive oil spills in recent decades; the Exxon Valdez in Alaska being one of the worst.

ADVERTISEMENT

Those are the kinds of nasty reminders I mean; periodic proofs that technological know-how is anything but foolproof. We fools who put such faith in unrestrained progress deserve to be humbled. The awful day may arrive sooner than we think when our reckless abuse of this planet might kill us all in one fell swoop. It might be as quick as a worldwide nuclear holocaust, as slow as insidious radioactive poisoning or as long-term as global warming that eventually makes life on Earth virtually unlivable.

Of course, with an insanely overpopulated planet, it is impossible to go back to the earth-friendly days of hunting and gathering, a way of life practiced for hundreds of thousands of years by our early ancestors. Our need for energy, after all, must come from somewhere. However, if advanced countries throughout the world had developed and then applied existing technologies, we wouldn't be in such a mess. We would have all kinds of energy sources that are not carbon-based or derived from nuclear power.

For a century, oil interests and greedy speculators fought tooth-and-claw against any wise energy alternatives; they still do. And we their consumers must bear plenty of blame too. Our entire lives, 'round the clock, are energy-wasteful. For crying out loud, there is even a stubborn rebellion of sorts against energy-efficient light bulbs, a "revolution" led by our very own Rep. Michele Bachmann, Our Lady of the Low Watt.

It's no wonder mankind keeps marching lockstep to its doom. This greed for energy and more energy is like the insatiable dragon that ends up consuming itself. It is, in short, a suicidal way to live.

Some political leaders - President Obama for one - keep talking about an earth-friendly "Green Revolution." Trouble is, it's mostly all talk and no action. And those who are passionately sincere are shouted down or out-maneuvered by slicksters who do the bidding of the oil men.

Yes, there have been some excellent renewable-energy technologies developed and applied, more in Europe and Asia than here in the U.S.A. There are windmills and solar panels here and there. However, we need more - much more - of them, along with other technologies such as bio-mass fuels.

We on this delicate planet have painted ourselves into a corner. If we do not rapidly develop wise, widespread energy alternatives, we will either run out of oil or it will become so expensive it won't be cost-effective at all.

In any case, we will continue to pollute the earth, and those glaciers will continue to melt like ice cubes under a merciless sun.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster was an excuse for some politicians to start yelping for more nuclear-energy plants. Our dependency on foreign oil has others - the "Drill, baby, drill!" folks - yelping for drilling on protected lands in America. Don't you wish these yelpers would start yelping for massive investments in green-energy methods?

Natural catastrophes like the awful earthquake and tsunami in Japan are bad enough. Man-made catastrophes, like nuclear power plants in earthquake zones, are even worse. Proof yet again of mankind's self-destructive technological arrogance and stupidity.

We keep ignoring these nasty reminders at our own peril.

What To Read Next
The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
This week in history in Douglas County.
This week in history in Douglas County.
The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.