Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Avoiding a Miserable Old Age

It is time for us to face up to some energy reality. Having no electric power or having it severely rationed and at very high prices will not make your old age pleasant.

Not using energy in the first place (reducing energy use) is a form of alternative energy that we are going to have to use at least a little while. 

Even if we had technology ready for use on a large scale, it takes a while to build the equipment and get it hooked into the existing power grid.

People are finding ways to lower their energy use now, but it isn't enough to avoid trashing our environment much worse than we have already done until we get an alternative energy solution going well enough to take care of our needs. 

I have already posted about fracking and the dangers it brings. It causes terrible pollution of ground water including aquifers that nobody has any idea how to ever clean up once they are polluted. 

I lived through droughts, including water rationing in two places in California. I also lived in a place in Texas that did not have any water on it and water had to be hauled in and placed in a water tank. 

Neither of those kinds of situations was pleasant, but those and others like them will become increasing common as climate change increases. We need to stop making our water problems worse.

Fracking to get more fuel for our energy needs has another side effect that we won't like. It has been established that some of the activities that go with fracking cause earthquakes. Not just one or two, but swarms of them. I already posted about that.

Chernobyl and Daiichi Fukishima and Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accidents have already shown us that nuclear power by fission has some drawbacks. 

Nuclear power by fusion is not ready for large scale use yet and is not expected to be before 2030 at optimistic estimates. 2050 is probably a more realistic date for actually using fusion to run our cities and homes.

Wind power and solar power on a larger than household scale are in operation in places, but are not making a substantial contribution to our energy needs yet.

There are other forms of energy in use in residential or slightly larger projects, but those are not ready for large scale operation yet either.

We can do things like strip mining for coal in order to get out every last bit to keep things running until the developing alternative energy technologies kick in, but strip mining costs a lot more than money. It is extremely destructive to a large area. It turns a former fertile land into a desolate wasteland. I posted about that already too.

Spending fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal as if there is no end to them can't go on much longer, no matter what we do to get out every last drop.

I hear people saying that they have to think about their grandchildren with how they treat the environment. Unless you are already 70 or older, it won't be only your grandchildren facing the consequences of your energy use.

It will also be your children and it will be you. Baby Boomers are facing a miserable old age if we don't save some fuel now.

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