Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Accurate Pen

What we have here is the greatest opportunity ever in history – and it only involves you writing a couple of letters.

We have an opportunity to avert the worst disaster humanity has ever witnessed – Global warming and mass ecocide. That's right, we can make a difference. We must at least try. This is critically important. Our efforts might even avert what could end up being the last straw for our civilization. Let's face it, every civilization before us has collapsed. Are we next? It's starting to look like it. Will it happen soon? I don't believe that it has too.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it won't be the worst disaster in human history. But, all indicators are that global warming is really bad – and if it gets as bad as some scientists predict, it could lead to mass extinctions (an article in National Geographic suggests as many as a million species). Let me remind you that humanity is not above being one of those species slated for extinction.

So, we've barely recorded a rise in the Earth's temperature, and we get hurricane Katrina – and all the others, including a big typhoon in China just a few of months ago (that wreaked far more havoc than Katrina).

In the Oceans, increased hurricane severity isn't the only sign. Seventy percent of the Oceans' coral is sick, dying, or dead. Red tides and dead zones have popped up from out of no where.

Allow me to speculate for a moment; but if we can heat the atmosphere, and we can heat the oceans, maybe we can heat our Earth's crust too. If so, maybe even the Tsunami of 2004 was avoidable. If so... expect more.

Just how bad does it have to get before we notice and take action?

I think most of us already know that burning coal for power has been very bad for the environment. We also know that it is an avoidable process. Neither wind, solar, geothermal, wave, or tidal generators produce any greenhouse gases. And, alternative power generators have no equivalent of the smoking trains or barges that deliver coal – and the smoking bulldozers, loaders, and trucks that mine coal. In spite of what the coal companies try to tell us, the technology for alternative energy is available here and now. There are existing examples of all of these alternative power generation methods, making a profit, somewhere on the planet. I have listed some of them on other entries of my blog. And no, I haven't listed supposedly "clean" coal.

Even if the coal power industry built only “clean” coal plants – and they have yet to build even one, there is still this matter of strip mining ecocide. Or, as Discover magazine quotes a local from the Appalachian coal mining area; “Even if you could get marshmallows to come out of a power plant's smokestacks, you can't wash the blood off coal.”

But what can we do?... We can assert ourselves. The most important thing Americans can do now is let our power companies know how unhappy we are that they intend to build more coal fired power plants. We are the customers. We make the decisions. And we've decided that this is a bad idea.

The time is now. The opportunity may be passing us by. Because; after they've started construction – once they've spent real money, it will be ten times harder to stop them.

Actually, I've been a little lazy so far, myself. I would rather pay a reasonable bill and turn on a switch to get my power. But, this is losing its appeal to me. I don't want to be responsible for Global warming, pollution, and destructive mining practices. If they build a coal fired power plant near me, I won't buy any of their power. I'll put up my own windmills and solar panels. And I'll store the energy, either in flywheels or generate hydrogen... I really don't want to bother, but I will. And there are probably millions of others, maybe even you, who feel the same way.

The problem for the power companies is that they don't know what our tipping point is. They don't know when we'll decide that we've had enough. They don't know how close they are to driving us away as customers. We need to let them know – before they spend billions of dollars on out-dated, polluting, water wasting power plants – that we won't buy power from.

Write you local power company, and let them know where you stand. Many of the people within that company want to build alternative energy generators. Give them a stronger voice.

Imagine, just writing a letter could change history. This is your opportunity to change the power companies' minds, and maybe even save our civilization. Together, we have far more influence than you ever thought possible. Tell others. E-mail your friends. Notify organizations that you think might care. Post it on your blog, website, MySpace, or YouTube. But, do it now. This opportunity won't last long.

Just think, if enough people write their power companies, we could force them to stop the construction of all the coal fired power plants in the US – and significantly slow Global warming.

Here is a sample letter. Cut and paste it into your letters if you like.


To whom it may concern;

I am considering no longer purchasing power from your company. I am considering installing my own power generation equipment. I am considering helping others build and install their own windmills and solar panels, once I have mine up and running. I am even considering supporting local alternative energy companies.

It doesn't have to be this way. You can do the right thing and build alternative power generators instead of coal fired power plants. Personally, I don't want to be bothered with having to generate my own power. But I will not continue to support a system that perpetuates the production of tons of pollution, Global warming, and strip mining ecocide.

You haven't fooled me, with your “clean” coal stories. I know that 90% of the coal fired power plants that are in America's immediate plans for construction are not even close to clean.

You haven't fooled me with your “cheap” coal stories. Once we build all of these coal fired power plants, and commit to decades of coal dependency, it's obvious the price of coal will go up.

And you also haven't fooled me with your “cheaper than alternative energy” stories. We taxpayers have to pay for all of the subsidies and tax breaks that make coal fired power plants appear cheaper. If our government had any common sense, coal would be taxed and alternative energy would be subsidized. Someday, this will happen. And who will pay? The ratepayers.

I draw the line here. This is my commitment. My future power will be generated by sustainable and safe technology.

Much more than your bottom line is at stake – but your bottom line is at stake. Your decision to build coal fired or alternative power generators will determine my, and many others' decision to buy power from you. Please, make the right decision.

Thank you,

Rick Spilsbury


Citizenre said...


You are way too idealistic about the results from writing your utility companies. They don't care and will continue business as usual until it is no longer profitable for them (and not paying all of the costs they create helps increase their profits).

I have an alternative suggestion to get their attention. Stop sending them your money every month and enabling their behavior. You have a choice. Clean solar power is now available in 40 US states at kwh rates competitive with or less expensive than electric utility power. See for more information on how you can stop enabling coal power, stop sending your money every month to cause more damage, and start doing some good with your monthly electric bill. This really is a moral decision -- if you believe as you do, it is immoral and wrong to enable bad when you make your financial choices.


Ben said...

HeyYa Rick

I just came to your blog from a comment you left at Dropping Knowledge.

FWIW I've been saying, No!" to "shoot foot" since I left the military in SEP73 ... I figured if we were tumbling democratically elected govt's (Chile) then likely we were doing most everything else badly and wrong. I was 19. It was quite an insight. It kinda broke my brain.

Anyhow, after stuff like intervening in the Mackenzie Pipeline hearings, and doing anti-apartheid and anti-nuke work, and on and on ... well, lemme get to bottom line:

peek your comment at "Dropping Knowledge". The site is really pretty. And whoever's doing it has budget to jet-set (peek the About Us page) ... but the site itself? Not better tech than we had in 1995 ... one way of "shooting foot" is doing same old same-old in fancy and more expensive ways.

I've been pressing for "participatory deliberation for years ... but I'm not a pretty yuppie, so I get pressed aside.


p.s. I won't know if you reply here; google hasn't made this a good system for communicating. Like "Dropping Knowledge", they know how to get rich with smoke and mirrors. HeyHo again.