A Changing Energy Landscape: Why I Choose Green Energy

Concern for the long term well-being of the planet, and the reduction of fossil fuel costs for our future, is the resounding message of this week’s submission to the Why I Buy Green Energy Contest.

Energy Contest
c/o EarthKind Energy, Kingston, NY

I am surrounded by wind turbine towers, to the north, east and south. They now inhabit my running and biking space, sound and viewscape, up on Crow Hill. I have come to accept them as part of a changing energy landscape, and certainly preferable to a fossil fuel or nuclear power plant up wind of me in the Adirondacks to the north. Still, I find myself questioning the need for anything new in the way of energy generation that couldn’t be avoided by serious efforts at conservation and reduced consumption. I suppose that comes from my years of involvement is sustainable living and national environmental organizations, ever since high school, the first Earth Day, reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb and joining Friends of Earth and ZPG. From those days before the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, when pollution was the buzz word, to now when greenhouse gas emissions and global warming are the chief concern, I have expanded my knowledge and environmental organization (9!) and political involvement.

I am glad I as consumer am given the choice to support and pay for green energy supply for what electricity I use. But it is essential that energy companies factor in the real costs, including environmental, of fossil fuel extraction, use and transmission. Such fuels are not renewable, so it is surely a long term business and national security concern as well. Fossil fuels are called “fossil” for a reason — whether coal, oil or natural gas, thtey represent stored solar energy as carbon from ancient vegetation which helped make the Earth’s atmosphere what is (or was). The burning of that stored carbon is what is bring the Earth surface to a global tipping point where feedback loops result in accelerating melting of the Arctic ice and organic permafrost layers that result in even greater stored carbon releases. The use of current sources like hydro, wind and solar, rather than ancient stored sources is the obvious path for thte long term well being of humanity sparing us tremendous costs in the future.

So often, and as is evident at each climate change conference and the politics of denial, alleged economic costs are used as an excuse to do nothing and to target the remaining known supplies of oil for exploitation. Money and jobs do matter and the realization that there is tremendous growth in jobs in the alternative energy industry and that the costs of inaction, in health and remediation, e.g., effects just of rising ocean levels, will make any initial investments or higher fuel prices seems trivial. Besides, it is the right things to do for ourselves, our future, and for all other species on land, ice, or in the oceans. And, at least once a month, when the new fuel bill arrives, a green energy future makes for great family conversation.