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Monday, March 11, 2013

Petrochemical "Salvery"

Next time you pump your gasoline. Think about this...
Trapped within each gallon is roughly the same amount of energy as 300 humans could produce in an hour.

As odd as it sounds, we have "dominion" over massive amounts of energy in a petrochemically mediated existence. How we use our "minions" is more telling about us than we can conceive. The vast coal, oil & gas "reserves" have been stored up over geologic time, eras long gone, that may never exist again. We have burned through about half of the world oil supply in just over 100 years. Although we continue to escalate the amount of energy and expense of trying to get more energy, the equations have been turned on their head. Wind and solar have experienced exponential increases in efficiency and simultaneously lower costs of production as demand continues to increase.

On the news tonight is a story about the dire straights that lie ahead for the nuclear electric generating station on the shore Lake Michigan. No one wants it, because the power it produces is more expensive than that produced by wind turbines. The waste will continue to cost over three million dollars per year to secure, possibly forever. The energy that we burned through recklessly will forever haunt the generations and all the folks who had been told that the facility would be so profitable, that they would never have to pay property tax? They are left holding the bag, without an operating facility, there is no tax incentive for living close to the radioactive site.

We love to feel the power of the accelerator. We love to hope that there is a free lunch and we frequently pray for the intercession of "our lord" or "lady", but the cold hard fact is that we are one. We are one large tribe, inhabiting Starship Earth. None are passengers, we are all crew. What we visit on Mother Earth and Father Sky are what we can count on becoming. The ravages we foist upon the planet are indeed perpetrated against ourselves.

I, for one, will celebrate May Seventh, for the closing of the nuclear power station. Dominion Energy, the corporation that runs the horrible facility will just walk. The local taxes paid by the corporation will drop 20% each year until 2019. Further, the township itself will eventually have to foot the bill for an appraisal of the facility (estimated between 30K and 250K) but what is the "value" of a nuclear waste site? Perhaps in the end, it will be considered a liability, but after many years of expensive legal battles, just compensation will not be possible. The end of the nuclear age will not exempt us from the long-term costs. Opponents of nuclear fission have made their case for generations...

If we look at the fossil fuel industries, their days are numbered as well. How we adapt to the challenges of today will either give us choices in the future, or take them away. I am still uncomfortable of acting like the only one with a crystal ball around here, but what if the fossil energy that we have burned through was put by in an attempt by the Great spirit to give life a chance under the onslaught of the solar wind? What if the great battery that is the living mantle was designed to absorb carbon and lock it away forever, moderating climate, tectonic plate movement and the entire magnetosphere? No "expert" can prove that any of these is not the case. Even when they would claim to "know" you would only have to look at who funded their research to know that it would be unreliable. I imagine the warm oil that sits on the stove after deep frying. It holds heat. What if the vast underground pools of oil helped insulate us from the magma below as well as the incoming rays of the sun by enhancing the magnetosphere?

The Servoglobe people, the technocrats are at a crossroads. The big dogs who control the purse are not interested in launching the next generation of satellites. They claim that "economic conditions" preclude replacing any remote sensing devices, just as we are beginning to see global systems reacting to exploitative energy mining and redistribution of energy. Just as we release massive amounts of energy to our "service" by supporting fossil energy concerns, we are enslaved by them for the use of precious fuels that need to be conserved. The best dollar is one that goes unspent, especially if the result of spending it tightens the noose around all of our necks.

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