Every year 24,000 people die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Every year 38,000 heart attacks occur because of pollution from coal-fired power plants.
Every year 12,000 hospital admissions and 550,000 people suffering asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.
Every year, coal-fired power plants release 48 tons of mercury nationwide.
Power plants release over 40% of total U.S. C02 emissions, a primary contributor to global warming...
...and yet the coal industry wants you to believe that building more coal fired power plants in Michigan is a good idea!
...and now utilities want to burn (as biomass) our trees that capture and store harmful carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we need to live
Power to the People
This web site and these words are brought to you by M'Lynn Hartwell. Ms. Hartwell has been recognized internationally for her work in developing clean green healthier alternatives to unhealthy living. She was awarded Environmentalist of the Year by the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council and the Sierra Club Cyber Punk Award. M'Lynn Hartwell is a journalist and communications consultant. Her accomplishments include working to halt the first wave of so-called “clean” coal plants, including several in Michigan. As a public interest intervener, she is working to include currently uncounted costs such as health effects from burning coal and biomass, including, but not limited to, mercury contamination, air and water pollution, global warming, water use and future constrained water supplies, environmental justice, and toxic chemicals in groundwater. M'Lynn is available to provided energy consulting, speech writing, and OpEd writing. She speaks frequently on electricity, coal, carbon sequestration, and other energy issues. She and her associates are committed to promoting the public interest in energy issues.
We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them
I have been working to help make Michigan a leader in energy solutions since the turn of the century. My day job involves research, analysis, writing, public relations, and communication.
I initially created this web site because of the threat dirty coal fueled energy presents to the future of our species. When Michigan communities started filing permits to build biomass burning power plants I naturally looked into them as well, and didn't like what I found, and I don't think that you will either.
We are running out of oil and coal. Many areas are past their peak, more will run out in our lifetimes. We need to develop new ideas. It has always been my belief that we should not complain about a problem, unless we have a solution that may solve that problem, and that is exactly my intention here. We evaluate challenges, and weight the risks and benefits of ideas and solutions.
While environmentalists feel that we are at a tipping point from which there is no return, let's for the moment include all American's ... people who may, or may not, believe in global climate change due to the carbon generating activities of mankind. The fact still remains that burning fossil fuels, such as coal, is costly and unhealthy for all living things. Every year in the United States over 24,000 people die prematurely because of pollution. Every year 38,000 people have heart attacks due to pollution. Every year over a half-a-million people suffer asthma attacks because of pollution from fossil fuel burning. The mercury put into the air makes our food unhealthy and carcinogenic, and affects the healthy development of our children's brains. This is not acceptable. We really ought to be taking better care of ourselves as a species, and develop healthier solutions to our energy needs.
Most people no longer wish to be dependent upon foreign oil and a diminishing supply of coal (the dirtiest and most regressive fuel sources imaginable). Over 300,000 acres of West Virginia have received surface mine permits, thousands of acres of mountain tops in Appalachia have already been blasted off in an attempt to extract the last of the remaining coal in that region, leveling mountain tops forever. Analysts tell us that we may have a decade or two of coal left, if even that much, in many areas. Yet, we all expect to pull into a filling station for fuel, or flip the switch and have the lights turn on. We want to go “green,” we just don't want it to inconvenience us, or find it be excessively costly. It is my belief that brilliant American minds already have the solutions, but we lack the political will to support the development of these new ideas all the way to the market where they need to be in order to make our lives better.
The amount of sunlight that hits the Earth's surface in one hour is enough to power the entire world for a year. This bears repeating. One hour of sunlight, contains enough energy to provide all of the electrical needs of everybody living on this planet for a year. Wow. In addition to being a FREE source of energy, the sun heats the earth, helps the plants to grow, and moves the oceans and great lakes, as well as creates wind. The wind blowing on Michigan's upper west coast is sufficient to provide all of the power needed for the entire state. The potential in the sun and the wind, and all the things they help manifest is phenomenal! Yet here we find ourselves burning filthy dirty fossil fuels and decimating the planet. We can do better. We must do better.
Why Aren't We Hearing More About This on Our Local News?
Who's heard of algae fuel? Raise you hand please. I don't see many hands up out there! Yet this fuel is available here-and-now in a growing number of markets. To make fuel, you add CO2 (as in utilizing a known greenhouse gas in a good way), mix in water, algae, and add sunlight. Now let the green slurry sit for a few days, press, and viola, fuel. This clean green food grade fuel can be dumped right into your the fuel tank in your diesel vehicle. No modification is necessary. Need green gasoline, or jet fuel, or heating oil, no problem. Algae fuel may be processed in refineries in the same way that petroleum currently is. The cost for Algae gasoline currently runs about $4 a gallon at the pump, but as more processors go online, the cost is expected to fall below petrochemical based fuel. If you can't afford to change your vehicle, you can at least change your fuel.
Here are a few more astonishing technologies that are nearing commercial and utility grade availability that have the potential to transform the world we live in for the better. I really like the Vivace™ hydro power generator developed right here at the University of Michigan. Each Vivace unit generates base-load energy from moving water (only one-kilometer-per-hour flow required). Or, how about Dr. Bussard's amazing Polywell Fusion Reactor measuring less than four-feet on each side which has already demonstrated that it can easily output two-million-volts of electricity without producing any radiation or toxic substances in the process. Polywell inertial electrostatic confinement reactors are expected to be super inexpensive to build and operate too (lowering your utility bill). I suspect that very few of you have heard of the solar highways concept either. A startup company in Idaho is proposing that we replace some of our 5.7 million miles of paved highway in the United States with solar roadways that collect and store solar energy to be used by our homes and businesses. These roadways are more durable than today's highways too, lasting at least three times as long. Can you imagine driving anywhere in the United States on electricity generated by the road you are driving on (in the winter the road even melts the snow and ice keeping it dry and safe). Amazing! You can read about all of these technologies and more by clicking through the links on the left side of this page (the bold type heading each article leads you to the original source). I am pretty certain if you spend some time perusing this web site, you will find answers to many of your questions as well as some you haven't even imagined asking.
Jobs, jobs and more JOBS ... good paying green energy jobs
Fact: We have enough unused and untapped manufacturing capacity in Michigan to become the world leader in manufacturing the stuff we need to live better, safer, and greener. The fastest growing job market is in “clean tech ” and “green energy” jobs. Leading companies such as General Motors and Ford are investing hundreds-of-millions of dollars in Michigan toward the creation of thousands of new “green energy” jobs. But we can do more. Much more. Let's become the world leader in manufacture wind generators and efficient high speed rail systems. The clock is ticking. If we don't do it, somebody else will. Wouldn't you rather have these great new jobs in Michigan!
Life is a series of things that you're not quite ready for.
It is time to act
It is time for us to work together toward developing clean safe energy solutions. While we don't need to change everything now, we do need to create solutions to those things that are inevitably changing. Contact the leadership in your city or village and help them to implement energy conservation practices. The easiest thing you can do to keep your utility costs down, is to reduce your consumption. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with LED lamps. Replace light switches with motion detectors that only turn on the lights when somebody is using the room. Turn your water heater down a few degrees, and while you're at it, we can all acclimate ourselves to cooler room temperatures. Simply turn down your thermostat by one degree each week, until you have found the coolest temperature where you can still feel comfortable. At night add a heavier blanket to your bed, and really turn down the temperature. It really doesn't make energy sense to keep your entire house warm, if you are already toasty in your bed. Use a programmable thermostat in your home or business and really see your utility bills go down, and automatically warm the house up before your slippers hit the floor in the morning. The healthiest and most functional communities in our future will be those that have mindfully built in concepts of sustainability, local resources, and resilience. These communities will have invested in themselves to establish the infrastructure to transition more gracefully into the world we are becoming.
All of this will happen one day, but it will happen more quickly if you contact your local, state, and federal representatives and tell them that new “green” high paying job creation is your highest priority in Michigan! Better jobs. A cleaner environment. A healthier future for you and our children. Now who can argue with that! It's a win-win all around. Now let's go make it happen.
What Can We Do For You
M'Lynn and her associates would love to speak to your group, promote your enterprise or organization, help solve your energy challenges, provide targeted research, or engage in highly effective strategic marketing — a one stop resource. I hope that you will take a moment right now and contact us via the form below:
Jobs and Energy — c/o M'Lynn Hartwell — PO Box Nine — Traverse City, MI 49686-0009
eMail: mail@JobsAndEnergy.com — Phone: 231.715.1614