I go through brief moments when I question electricity. Do we need it? Is it useful? SHOULD we have it? All our modern first-world lives depend on electricity. Every job I’ve had shut down when the power went out. In college, when power went out (or the internet was down…) everyone shambled out of their rooms and actually socialized a bit.
Even our tiny luxuries are tied to electricity…industry, mass production, and even the design of modern products depends on computers for design, email for communication, telephones…even if we feel like we could live off-grid, we still have some form of generating power (and those solar cells don’t manufacture themselves, nor grow on trees.
Although leaves grow on trees, and trees seem to do ok…).
Then there’s the damage that burning fossil fuel does. I don’t have any numbers here, but I’d encourage you to use your Google-fu to find some statistics. Global warming, pollution, chemicals dumped into water, dinosaurs slaughtered in cold blood with no regard for their hardworking ways.
I think about getting off the grid. Then I realize, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with ELECTRCITY. I like having the AC on when the temperature approachs 100° F. I like my computer. I like the internets, and being on them. I don’t particularly like how our architecture is based in opposition to what nature wants to do, but that’s a whole other train of thought.
Anyway, the point being, power generation can be “easy” and pretty safe. It might not get that way for awhile, but we have to try. I’m pretty sure the answer is nuclear power. Go here [world-nuclear.org] for some info on the economics, and browse around wherever you’d like
–delay several days–
Well, I started writing this on June 17th, and now its June 23rd. I guess I’ll finish up, but I probably forgot my point if I had any to start with.
I’ve talked before (at least in my head) how I question things like, bringing electricity to third world countries. Refrigeration can be great; it can also remove a culture from the concept of fresh food. This isn’t necessarily a universal truth…I’ve been told many Europeans are much better with the fresh food concept than Americans are. It can make life in regards to food a lot easier, but does that make it BETTER? I don’t know.
The BIGGEST issue regarding electricity is the amount of pollution and ecological damage it causes. No, I changed my mind. The earth is pretty resilient. It can recover from pretty much any disaster we throw at it in, max, 50 years or so. The biggest issue regarding electricity is the source. Fossil fuels won’t last forever; then where do we go? It takes fossil fuels and rare earth metals to create solar panels…that needs to be played with and come to a point where we can build solar panels based purely on solar power, otherwise it will never be a long-term solution.
The medium term solution is, I think, nuclear power. Except then, we’re out of uranium. So maybe, solar long-term. So the question isn’t renewable energy generation, it’s energy storage. Batteries are hard to make though, and require power and non-renewable resources. So we need alternative forms of energy. But we haven’t thought of anything yet.
Nevermind, I give up.