Saturday, October 11, 2008

(another) reason not to vote for John McCain

I had long ago made up my mind not to vote for John McCain, because he is no longer a maverick, if he ever was. Now, as I have gone through a comparison of the programs he endorses, versus those endorsed by Barack Obama, I would not vote for him, if for no other reason than that he supports the expansion of nuclear power. Barack Obama does not support development of nuclear power production, but favors development of alternative energy sources.

There is now reasonable hope that we can begin commercially producing biofuels from algae in the next ten years. Promoting such development, as Obama does, would result in the creation of new industries, while the expansion of nuclear power would require close regulation and protection of nuclear materials, FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS! Not only would nuclear materials need to be kept from leaking into places where they could accidentally harm living things, but they would have to be protected from malicious misuse, as well. The development of nuclear power production is a hugely expensive, dangerous undertaking that would last for many generations!

Wouldn't we rather have the expansion of businesses that would produce materials and technologies which don't emit invisible waves of harmful radiation, and which would immediately free us from foreign powers and corporations?

Putting money into this sort of technology would also free us from the fact that ethanol production from corn is a soil-depleting technology. Corn is a slow-growing crop, compared to algae, and producing fuel from corn diverts land from food production to fuel production at a time when human population is at its greatest. Where corn takes months to produce the raw material for food or for ethanol, some algaes can double their biomass in a matter of days. And, in the process, atmospheric carbon dioxide is converted to other compounds, thus reducing greenhouse gas volume! The fact that it would produce AMERICAN jobs, is no small thing, either!!!

There is also ongoing development of new photovoltaic (solar electrical generation) materials that will greatly increase the efficiency of power production from sunlight. This will also decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and create new business opportunities.

The expansion of wind generation has come rapidly in the current economic climate, and there is still great potential for further development that will result in environmental and other benefits.

With comprehensive conservation of fossil fuels through ramped emission reduction standards, speed limit reductions and expansion of mass transit, we could quickly see fuel prices stabilize for the meantime. This should not be a signal to go back to our old spendthrift ways, but gives us breathing room to reach new dynamic equilibrium, economically, socially, and environmentally.

Fossil fuels WILL RUN OUT SOON, probably in this century, at current consumption. Their continued extraction will only become more difficult and more expensive, and in the process will destroy even more natural habitats necessary to ourselves and the remaining creatures with whom we share the Earth.

Any alternatives that reduce the amount of fossil fuels consumed, is beneficial, in terms of cost, release of greenhouse gases, dependence on foreign sources, and new American business generated.

This opens the door for alternative fuels, increases in efficiency, and all sorts of innovations which will result in a better future for our children and grandchildren.

If for no lesser reason than the very quality of Earth's future, a vote NOT cast for John McCain, is a vote well cast.

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About Me

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I've been a number of things over the years: husband, father, environmental technical specialist, college instructor, carpenter, volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver, student of Lakota and Japanese languages, technical writer, process engineer, research technician, IT technician, emergency dispatcher, etc.