How to Save the Environment in Three Easy Steps
Disclaimer: I know this post is really long and daunting, but please PLEASE read it as I think it's pertinent to every one of us. Let's save the world.
On Sunday evening, my mom and I drove up to Park City to hear Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. expound upon the state of our environment. The opening remarks were made by Louie Psihoyos, whose film "The Cove" won an audience award at Sundance in 2009. "The Cove" is about the systematic killing of dolphins in a Japanese town and the resulting mercury poisoning problem. As apex predators at the top of the food chain, the dolphins accumulate all the mercury working its way up the food chain. Once killed, the dolphin meat is given to local schools where students are forced to eat it, making them sick.
Some towns around Minamata had populations where 30% of the children were thought to have either cerebral palsy or mental retardation. The real culprit was found to be mercury poisoning from a nearby plastics plant that was dumping mercury waste into the water system.
-from The Cove's website,
At this point, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. took the reigns. He explained that the vast majority of the mercury which is bioaccumulating in the oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams of the world comes from coal-burning power plants and other carbon fuels. This is a worldwide problem, affecting the United States as much as Japan or any other nation. Recent studies show that no freshwater fish living in the United States currently has safe levels of mercury, says RFK. Mercury is a factor in many of the health problems that make our generation the "sickest ever" according to nurses that Kennedy had spoken with. Mercury has a proven correlation to the huge increase in the incidence of Autism in recent years, a disease that was virtually nonexistant in previous generations. Not only is the mercury accumulating in the bodies of fish, dolphins, and pregnant mothers, it has also been a staple in vaccinations since their conception decades ago. Finally, in 2003, the Center for Disease control made mercury-free vaccinations an option. However, nearly all of the flu shots given this year, which were strongly suggested and in some cases mandated by the white house, contained mercury.
According to the CDC, 1 in 6 American women now has so much mercury in her womb that her children are at risk for a grim inventory of diseases: autism, blindness, mental retardation, heart, liver, and kidney disease, that's one of the costs of burning coal.
-Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in an interview on CNN,
So, what can we do to combat this metallic killer? Kennedy says that we need a complete overhaul of our national energy system. This nation could achieve complete independence from coal, nuclear, and fossil fuels, and the nations which we depend on to give them to us. All we need he says, is the courage to do it. He uses the example of the British Government's decision to outlaw slavery completely in the 19th century, despite concerns that the nation would fail without the labor it depended on. Instead, entrepreneurs and inventors rushed in to capitalize on the burgeoning industry. The outcome was the industrial revolution. Kennedy says we could experience a similar kind of economic prosperity with a similar leap of faith. With an initial investment into creating ways to harvest free, clean, natural energy, he says, we could ensure national independence and solve the economic problems, killing two birds with one stone. For instance, he states, a square 75 miles per side in the American Southwest filled with solar panels could power the entire nation. The wind power in North Dakota is capable of similar productivity. Kennedy also told us that every year, 20% more people die from coal-related health problems than were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And that's every year!!!! We need to do the right thing, and it's simple. All we need is a national grid system to transport electricity. Kennedy says the only thing keeping farmers in North Dakota from putting wind turbines on their farms is that the energy cannot effectively be transported elsewhere. With a new national network as easy as, say, telephone lines or the internet, we would be on our way to complete energy independence. As Kennedy says,
environmental prosperity always equals economic prosperity.
So let's do the right thing. It is so simple, economically, and environmentally sound. Of course, many of you are probably thinking, like me, "Hey, a lot of this stuff sounds like what we read in Unspun! So check out Kennedy's website and the Cove's website, and then go see Kennedy yourself when he returns to Utah in March!
So, if you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read this post, feel free to let me know what you think.