Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Night of Enlightenment

Last night was pretty incredible. Just after 7pm I arrived at Town Hall to find about 40 people already queued up. Robert F Kennedy, Jr. was scheduled to speak on behalf of the Natural Resources Defence Council, an organization he has advocated and litigated for, for over 25 years. I had no idea what to expect, but none the less, I joined the line with my book, a Cranberry Orange Nut Bread (seasonal flavor) Clif bar, grapes, and my sigg packed in my purse. I had come straight from work and wasn't expecting to be home before 10pm, so nourishment was a must!

The line grew quickly and the doors were opened just before 7:30. I settled into a seat in the 9th row and watched the place fill up.

Anyway... After being introduced by introduced by the RNDC President, Frances Beinecke, Bobby Kennedy came on stage to a roaring crowd that spanned generations and income brackets. His stories and accounts were gripping and frightening. He spoke of the literal destruction of an entire state, West Virginia, by the coal industry. Forcing out thriving communities so the coal companies can expand their operations. Cutting down the tops of the Appalachian Mountains to mine the mineral. Polluting the soil, and filling in lakes, rivers, and streams with the polluted soil. Did you know that West Virginia has the richest ecosystem in the hemisphere due to the way the glaciers moved through the area? I had no idea. Unfortunately though, that ecosystem is being destroyed every day by the coal industry. Kennedy is fighting for the people of West Virginia and for the wildlife that inhabit the state. He just won a large judgement a few weeks ago against the coal companies because they were filling the water system and tried to cover up their illegal actions.

Kennedy spoke out against coal energy - it is not nearly as cheap as they like to say when you include the costs of roads built to handle the trucks (in West Virginia their highways have 21 inches of asphalt rather than they typical 4-6inches because the coal trucks require it. Each inch costs millions of tax payer dollars), the railroad tracks across our nation are warped due to the weight of the coal trucks, the companies are tearing down our land and destroying communities. He is definitely not a fan of nuclear power either, professing that it is not safe nor economical and nuclear power plants are not even insurable, which means that we are put on the hook for any disasters that may occur. Apparently there are no homeowners insurance plans that cover costs for damage from a nuclear power plant failure. (If you have that, please let me know!) It is essentially a subsidy for the nuclear power industry.

With all the dire state of affairs Kennedy spoke of he also, actually gave me hope for our future. He professed that geothermal energy, wind turbines and solar energy is where we need to focus our attention. But, first, we need an efficient national power grid, which the Obama administration is working towards as we speak. Yes, I know. You're thinking "Isn't Obama focused on enough already?" Well, yes, I agree, but this is what we need to move forward and become independent and efficient.

Wow. I could go on about this for a long time, but I will leave it at this. After listening to Bobby Kennedy for over an hour (the organizers were desperately trying to get him off stage because the event was supposed to end at 9pm but he wasn't ready to go) I am very interested in these types of energy. There are countless farmers in North Dakota (which is apparently the windiest place on earth at sea level) who want to put wind turbines on their land to create energy, but they have no way of getting that energy to market and there are an incredible number of roadblocks for them to make it happen right now. Most states don't allow homeowners with solar panels to sell their excess energy back to the grid at market rate, if at all. Why not? They are creating energy for others to use? Why not use it? It's solar! It's free! And it's just going to waste.

I left Town Hall with questions and fears, but also with a hopeful outlook because there were hundreds of people sitting there with me listening to this very enthusiastic man talking about ways that we can move ahead and become a powerful nation using our own energy sources while helping the environment and combating global warming. It seems evident that the Obama administration is determined to make this a reality and that makes me optimistic about our future. Maybe it isn't all doom & gloom. Maybe we will turn things around and leave this world in a better state for our children and grandchildren that it is in right now. We have the power to do something about this but we have to educate ourselves, speak out, and demand from our representatives that they make this happen and push back against the Lobbyists, big energy companies and do something. This is much to important to just sit back and let it go.


On another note!! Our company wide food bank ended on Friday. Across the country, in several offices, we collected well over 1,000 lbs of food and personal care items for our local communities. I am so proud of the company for holding the drive and that the employees came together to help others put food on their tables.


Barbara said...

Oh , I'm envious ! I would have loved to here RFK, Jr. ! There's a very impressive wind far near Ubley in the thumb of Michigan.
The Food Drive sounds like a huge success !

Holyoke Home said...

Wow. Sounds like a very inspirational event. I hope your foot is on the mend.

Stopping by from SITS.