Good morning, y’all. I do love the smell of the mountain air after the rain has come through and washed all of the crud out of it. I guess crud is a very non-technical term, but y’all know what I mean. Sometimes the air gets so thick up here you could cut it with a knife, and it ain’t even our pollution I’m breathing. Our bad air comes from the South and the West. Georgia Power, keeping the Smokey Mountains smokey, since 1902.
Now, in truth, I don’t have a problem with bunches of people living close together in cities and needing all of the services that folks have come to expect. I guess there are certain efficiencies in packing a jilllion people together like New York City or Boston. Sprawling cities like Atlanta are a different issue, though. Up North the power lines travel less distance and are underground. Dare I say it, the way they do things up North is a far more efficient system than what we have in the South and West. In the South and West we see miles and miles of above ground wires that require more infrastructure to keep running. More infrastructure means more costs. To keep costs lower, the power companies say they are forced to use the cheapest fuel. The cheapest fuel is coal; unless you add in the complete destruction of the planet, and then coal is not quite as attractive. I get that the U.S. is the Saudia Arabia of coal, but just because you’ve got a lot of something doesn’t mean that something, is a good thing.
Now, I’ve chosen to bring this topic up for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I like breathing clean air. More importantly, I want my grandson Trey to be able to breathe clean air, and all of the succeeding generations of Lites. I’d like for future Lites to not be born with sinusitis and not have to suffer bronchitis as they get older. I’d like for Trey to be able to climb to the top of Brasstown Bald and see as far as Carolina in one direction and Atlanta in the other. I’d like for Trey to be able to visit the Maldives while they’re still above water, and visit Beijing, China without an aqualung. Continuing to burn coal is just not going to provide the future I want for my progeny, and yes, I do think we bear a responsibility to future generations.
If not coal, what? Well, the folks that matter just met in Paris, France to discuss just that point. It seems a good time was had by all, except for the Arabs. Seems OPEC is going to be going through some hard times along with the coal folks. Ironically, some of the Arab countries have already been proactive and have been harvesting the other resource that they have in abundance, sunlight. Good on them. For the rest of the world there is going to be a transition to renewable resources while we wean ourselves from fossil fuels.
A plan has been developed where the entire world can be using clean energy by 2050. Now, I’ll be a hundred, or dead, by 2050, but Trey will be in his forties. Trey’s kids will be in their teens and those great grandchildren will have the opportunity to live out their days with clean air, if we adopt this plan. Why would any parent not wish this for their future?
From what I’ve seen and read, this is the future that President Obama wants for his kids. It appears that the President has worked tirelessly against the old guard of fossil fuel exploiters to try to provide a safe, clean future for his descendants. Not only does the plan provide clean air, but millions of jobs in clean industries. No one would be a coal miner by choice, believe me. Catching the wind as it comes across the Kentucky hills is going to do far more for Kentucky than coal ever did.
I think I’ll just take as deep a breath as I can and declare in my loudest voice, “I’m fer it!”