• How have things changed?
    April 12,2012

    I have now lived on this planet for 80 years. Before I leave, I would like to see changes made which will make continued life possible. Current practices will not. The combustion of fossil fuels is polluting our earth, air and water. Nuclear power produces radioactivity which will last for thousands of years. Accidents are the main fear, and they will continue. Leakage will continue and build up over the years. The federal agency intended to protect the public seems instead more concerned with the continued profits of the plants. In aging plants, safe when built, all parts wear out over time. Owners concentrate on some of these, but others go without maintenance and cause a variety of problems.

    The use of natural sources of energy is not new. For hundreds of years seagoing ships were powered by the wind. We all know of Holland’s windmills. Waterwheels powered the grinding of grains into flour.

    Our leaders in Vermont should be commended and supported in their plans to use natural sources of energy. Inventors have and will make far more efficient power generators. The use of energy from earth, water, wind, and sunshine will replace obsolete sources. Heat pumps use earth’s inexhaustible energy. Solar generators and wind and water turbines do as well. (Perhaps artists, as well as engineers, should be enlisted in the design of such facilities.)

    The critics point out the problems of intermittent energy sources. Currently, dams hold back water until their power is needed. More importantly, the use of hydrogen as a fuel can solve this problem. High school science students know that electricity and water will generate hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen can be stored and transported as bottled gas is now. It can be produced, stored and burned as needed. When burned, it produces only water, no carbon dioxide.

    One hundred years ago Teddy Roosevelt railed against the “trusts and monopolies which bought politicians to enhance their own wealth and power.” Has this changed?

    Gerow Carlson


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