We do not need nuclear energy, coal, or oil to power a modern society. We can actually lead happy, fulfilling lives, in which we don’t ever need to worry about nuclear disasters, the price of gas or climate change. We can switch to renewable energy combined with energy efficiency, using technology that exists today – not a pipe dream offered to you by PR agents of various dirty energy industries. And none of this will require you to live in a cave and collect berries in a forest to eat (though if that’s what you really want in life, I’m sure we can figure something out).
I’ve written the above paragraph, or something similar, so many times on the Greenpeace website, or on comment sections on my favourite websites that I feel a bit like a broken record. Yet, it can get frustrating even for the most patient person in the world (which I’m not) that no matter how true this is, the “common-sense” idea that an energy revolution isn’t possible is still the dominant one in mainstream news and blogs.
This week, we marked the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. For almost 25 years, the nuclear PR industry has been serving the story that a disaster on a similar scale couldn’t possibly happen again – and well, I don’t think I need to go over what’s happening in Fukushima all over again. Last week was the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon blow-out, which led to the worst accidental oil spill in history – yet, the oil industry is trying to send oil rigs to the Arctic, to drill for more oil in conditions that are getting more ridiculously dangerous every year. We’re turning part of a Canadian province into a moon-like landscape to try and squeeze the smallest bits of oil out of the ground. Last, but not least, we’re using our atmosphere as a giant sewer, and bringing about catastrophic climate change.
We can stop all that. We can choose clean, safe, renewable energy. We can choose energy efficiency. One of the many reasons we’re not is that dirty industry PR agents are still spreading the lie that we can’t. Coal, oil and nuclear are only three faces of the same problem – the idea that we must accept some downsides (like, you know, nuclear disasters, nuclear waste, oil spills, coal ash, toxic waste and climate change) as the price of our modern lifestyles. It’s not true.
There are many sad reasons to spark an energy revolution – rising gas prices; the narwhal that could get soaked in oil if an oil spill happens in the Arctic; the polar bear cub that drowns because his mother can’t fin the sea-ice; Annya, the girl from Belarus who is still suffering from the consequences of Chernobyl. But there are even more happy reasons for it – because an energy revolution means that foreign policies - war and peace - won’t be dependent on the question of gas prices, but on what’s right and wrong. Because in an energy-safe world, cities will be liveable, and the air you breathe will be cleaner. Because an energy revolution will make energy cheaper in the long run. Because it will create jobs – more than the dirty energy industry can create.
So today, take action against the dirty energy industry, and tell someone you know about the energy [r]evolution. You can find how it works here, and many little facts about renewable energy and energy efficiency here.