Demystifying Nuclear Power: I'm an Energy Voter

 written by Sue Prent

November 2015 is an election month at many locations in the United States. Most Americans have seen the slick ads, paid for by the fossil fuel industry, urging voters to demand more and more dirty energy. 

Personally, I’d like to see this message stripped of its cynical agenda and appropriated by clean energy advocates. 

It goes without saying that we should all be energy voters because the single overarching threat to our future on this crowded planet is due to Climate Change and environmental degradation.  All other political debates pale by comparison as the point at which our planet may become largely unable to support mammalian life is approaching ever more rapidly. 

As energy voters we should be demanding a shift from dirty energy practices to clean energy technical innovation and efficiency. It is up to each of us to insist that our leaders adopt a fresh perspective on the tired old twentieth-century model of unlimited “growth” that has charted a cancerous course toward inevitable systemic collapse.

For the human race to have any kind of a long-term future, sustainability must replace this irrational meme, and any future growth must be subservient to that non-negotiable master. This is a step we must take for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and the future descendants our ancestors dreamt of.

Sustainability creates a lot of opportunity for the expansion of reasonable prosperity and comfort, especially because the infrastructure of sustainable living is brimming with job opportunities, and entrepreneurial potential thrives on meeting the challenges posed by systemic limits. A sustainable energy economy would immensely simplify aspects of our lives.

Fossil fuel and nuclear energy corporations depend on creative inertia and a seriously outdated energy distribution model to maintain their political hegemony and to hamstring all efforts to move past outdated energy platforms. 

Harnessing clean local energy sources is increasingly met with corporate resistance. As alternatives become more popular, their advancement is identified as a threat to the outdated distribution grid, which dates to a significantly less sophisticated era. Rather than initiate new public works projects that would modernize electrical supply systems, thereby providing skilled employment for a huge workforce, special interests keep redirecting the conversation to how to generate more and more conventional power, disregarding both efficiency and environmental impacts, even though there is no factual data to support their claims, and all in the name of corporate power and profit. 

Candidates for President who would have the U.S. fortify its international prestige and influence should ask themselves how that could ever be possible if we are unwilling to lead the world on the most pressing issue of our times: Climate Change.

One of the most neglected aspects of a clean energy agenda in the U.S. is efficiency. While there are some local and statewide efforts that deserve recognition, as the second largest power consumer in the world, the U.S. has no powerful efficiency agenda to counterbalance the growth and consumption agenda that is vigorously promoted by fossil fuel and nuclear energy players through their powerful lobbies.

It’s time for energy voters to insist that candidates present truly clean energy plans that include efficiency strategies and incentives to restrain consumption, create new jobs here in the U.S., and grow the U.S. economy using foresight and creativity.