To the Editor:
Mike Zagata’s column of Jan. 10-11 expresses perspectives that are fast becoming archaic. To suggest renewables aren’t ready to replace gas is short-sighted, parochial and myopic.
Of course, the 5,000 flights a day that circle the earth can’t by powered by green energy, but that’s exactly the point. Conserving them now will insure availability later.
The gas and oil reserves will have to yield some day to alternate energy (the earth isn’t making them as fast as they are being consumed – not by a long shot), so wouldn’t it be wise to begin now to wean the global society off oil, so reserves will remain when they are essential?
Vision of future needs has proven to be obsolete repeatedly through human history, most recently in the last century when horse-powered transportation was deemed a pollutant in cities that had to clean streets of manure in favor of gasoline-powered cars.
Essential as that shift was, just one century later the innovation of the past has become the pollutant of today, as witnessed by contamination of the atmosphere with exhaust fumes leading to an accelerated climate warming.
Too often the legitimate issue of contamination from conventional energy sources is politicized, so if Obama proposed it, it is rescinded. Likewise, ill-informed perspectives are taken for fact.
Let’s do a fact-check on the viability of solar power. It isn’t necessary to supply an entire city with electricity from solar panels to see the virtues of that energy source. Solar panels spread across miles of desert terrain in the Southwest serve
needs that would otherwise consume fossil fuels, and
they don’t contaminate our environment.
The need of a modern global society for hydrocarbons is conspicuous. It got that way for good reasons. For decades, oil was available and the oil industry convinced us there were no alternatives. Do you need an example? Just ask what happened to the electric-car industry of the ’50s and the power of the oil industry will be conspicuous.
Fundamental to this issue is the inability of Americans to see beyond their own individual needs. That has a time component that leads to shortsighted thinking in many ways. For example, more than 50 percent of Americans think climate change is a problem, and almost as many attribute the problem to human activity.
But because the ramification of a warming climate (and the list is long) will not affect them directly in their lifetime, the problem is left for future generations to solve. That’s right – just sweep it under the rug for someone else to deal with.
One hundred years ago we learned from John Muir that everything in the human environment is connected – you can’t touch anything in the living environment without ultimately touching everything. The scope of time and space clearly eludes many who think issues aren’t important if they don’t have a direct influence on them, as clearly illustrated by Mr. Zagata’s column.
The development of renewables may not be the answer now at this time, but it sure is a step in the right direction for the future. You can cover a lot of ground one step at a time.
P. JAY FLEISHER