Friday, June 21, 2024

Practically Living Green

Showing practical reasons to live green.

Journal & Opinions

Why I’m Against Coal and Oil; It’s Not What You Think

Yeah, the title makes it sound like I’m some kind of green warrior pushing for a liberal agenda. The fact of the matter is being against coal and oil has a lot of practical reasoning.

Don’t get me wrong, anything that benefits the planet as a whole is a good idea. But, there are also every-day elements that go into being anti fossil fuel.

Why the Fight Against Coal and Oil

You cannot deny that the Earth is going through a phase. Whether you believe it is man-made or not is irrelevant.

Locations once being the coldest on the planet are now experience heatwaves like never before. Tropical storms are increasing in severity and frequency. And places like Greenland will lose permanent ice shelves because of rising temperatures.

But what about things that impact us today? Since many people don’t take into consideration things that might happen 40 years from now, what is the day-to-day impact?

An Archaic Form of Technology

I’m a fan of technology. Well, some. I can’t stand smartphones. However, there is something to be said about a culture that went from the Commodore 64 in the 1980s to having microcomputers in your pocket with 1000s times the processing power inside of 40 years.

Coal and oil is something that has been around for more than a century!

Sure, humanity is slowly phasing out the use of fossil fuels, kind of. Fracking is still a thing. But that’s a blog post of its own. There are a lot of bad things that come with fracking and what it does to local areas.

My point is that humanity advances technology based on what brings in the money and if there is a large enough consumer base. That’s how innovation works in a capitalist country.

Electric cars have been around since the 1800s. In 1832, Robert Anderson created the first electric vehicle. The downfall was how Henry Ford created the gasoline-powered Model T, which was more affordable in 1912.

And that’s what it all boils down to…money. Since then, oil companies have raked in the dough.

The same can be said about coal-fired power plants. Now, these are also being phased on en mass. In fact, corporations like Xcel Energy are planning to be carbon-free by 2050.

Still, it’s upsetting to know that humanity as a species only advances tech when its financially practical.

It’s More Expensive to Maintain Over Time

Compared to solar and wind, which are more expensive to build upfront, it’s far more expensive to maintain coal and oil.

To keep a fossil-fuel-driven power plant in operation, it takes:

  • Paying employees to drill, mine, and collect the materials.
  • Paying for transportation of those materials to a refinery.
  • The costs of refining those fossil elements to be used.
  • More transportation costs to move the refined material.
  • Then start the process all over again, incurring a constant flow of expenses.

Then you have a solar array. Once the cost to build it is paid, the only expense is upkeep…which is far lower than the costs I just mentioned. The only resource materials it takes to keep it in operation is light.

But what if it’s a rainy day? That’s what capacitors, batteries, and transformers are for. Energy is stored for usage whether it’s a solar array or a coal-fired plant. The same is said about wind turbines.

So no, if the wind doesn’t blow constantly, you’re not going to run out of power. And if we ever run out of sunlight, we’ll have much bigger problems than simply being able to watch TV.

My argument against coal and oil isn’t about stopping greenhouse gases. That would be a nice side effect for today. But it’s about the overall costs to everyone’s pocket book.

A Corrupt System

There’s no doubt that corruption is alive and well in the coal and oil industries. There have been studies on studies regarding the issue around the world.

But, how does corruption interfere with everyday life? Again, its all about the money.

Nikola Tesla was working on a free electricity electronic circuit. This was to harness the natural energy within Earth’s atmosphere, and was conceived more than a century ago.

Wouldn’t it be nice to not have a utility monopoly that can add surcharges to make consumers pay for upgrades? How often has your electricity been shut off for non-payment?

But, free energy isn’t profitable.

And Nikola Tesla isn’t the only example of how corruption can halt advancement. What about accountability? It doesn’t happen nearly as much as it should.

Yes, I Still Drive Using Gasoline in a House Powered by the Grid

City Traffic

Although I am against coal and oil, I still drive my car and use natural gas to power my water heater. It’s called a necessary evil as I really can’t afford to switch everything to electric.

Again…money.

Sure, solar panels are becoming cheaper and on-demand heating is advancing. But unless you have a high credit score or $20k to drop on your roof, it’s often not practical.

And that’s the sad truth behind energy today. For the most part, people who live below “middle-class,” which was roughly 29% of the population in 2016, can barely afford to put food on the table and the lights from going out.

And that’s not including the predicament we’re in as a society today with COVID-19 running rampant.

On the other hand, I do a lot more walking instead of driving. Mostly because I want to be healthier overall.

However, as soon as I am able to afford to pull my house off the grid or buying an electric car, you can bet that I will. Because over the span of a couple of decades, I would save TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars by going green.

Just in the electricity bill alone, I would save more than $2400 each year.

Yes, there are a lot of people who make less than I do who make living green happen. But, they’re also far more committed to making massive changes in their lifestyles.

I am a computer-using, technology-loving, consumer looking for a middle ground.

Being Against Coal Doesn’t Make You a Hippy

No, I’m not an activist who stands on the street protesting coal, oil, or animal rights. But, I am a man who wants a better way to live without stressing over finances or having to wear a mask because of pollution levels.

When I went for my first walk after moving back from LA in 2017, the pollution along Federal Blvd in Westminster damn near choked me out.

It’s things like this where you can find practical reasons for living green. So, I am against coal, oil, and anything else that prevents me from living a longer and happier life.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.

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