Coal not Candles
30 March 2012
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Coal not candles should be the symbol of Earth Hour.
It was coal that produced clean electric power which cleared the smog produced by dirty combustion and open fires in big cities like London and Pittsburgh. Much of the third world still suffers choking fumes and smog because they do not have clean electric power and burn wood, cardboard, unwashed coal and cow dung for home heat.
It was coal that saved the forests being felled to fuel the first steam engines and produce charcoal for the first iron smelters.
It was coal that powered the light bulbs and saved the whales being slaughtered for whale oil lamps.
It was coal that produced the steel that replaced shingles on the roof, timber props in the mines, wooden fence posts on the farms and the bark on the old bark hut.
In Australia today, coal provides at least 75% of our lighting, cooking, heating, refrigeration, rail transport and steel. Without it, we would be back in the dark days of candles, wood stoves, chip heaters, open fires, smoky cities, hills bare of trees and streets knee deep in horse manure.
Coal is fossil sunshine as clean as the green plants it came from, and often less damaging to the environment than its green energy alternatives.
Earth Hour candles are green tokenism for rich status-seekers and nostalgic dreamers.
We should spend Earth Hour saluting the real people who produce the coal on which most people on earth depend.
"We must make this place an insecure and inhospitable place for Capitalists and their projects – we must reclaim the roads and plowed lands, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers, and return to the wilderness millions and tens of millions of acres of presently settled land."
– Dave Foreman, "Earth First"
For those who would like to read more:
Clearing the smog of Beijing with "Coal by Wire":
Return to the caves:
Hail to Electricity:
The Road to more Blackout nights:
Earth Hour – a Dissent
Authorised by Viv Forbes