2010 Feb. 19: RAWSEP View: As wood smoke is to coal smoke; so nuclear energy is to coal smoke
RAWSEP View: Watching as the EPA of the Obama Administration progresses in cracking down on coal smoke polluters, I only want to cheer the EPA on. However, there is the elephant in the room of continuing wood smoke pollution. Wood smoke pollution is causing my friends who have neighbors with Outdoor wood boilers and wood stoves to literally lose their homes. Human beings cannot live next to most of the pollution emitted by continuous residential wood burning. We are "canaries in a coal mine", to use the cliche which is unfortunately true. Canaries were used in coal mines to detect pollutants that could kill miners. When the canary stopped singing, it was time to get out, fast. So lets get out of wood burning, fast, please, so we don’t have to continue leaving our homes.
As poker players might say, I’m revealing my hand. Yes, the people who are going to their village, town and city boards for injunctions against wood stoves and outdoor wood boilers are human beings who can actually die from cancer, or lung and heart disease. Wood burners apparently feel, like children or teens playing a video game, or like drunks watching SuperBowl commercials, that they are immortal and life is just a cartoon where they are the leading buffoon.
But people are resilient. Until our last breath, whether we sell our houses at a loss because we divulge the third-world conditions the homebuyers will have to be prepared to endure, or we stay on and barricade ourselves with air purifiers with our windows sealed as tight as we can, we will speak out against this abuse of the environment, civility, common sense and human health.
So as the Sierra Club wins lawsuits against coal smoke, we implore them not to settle for replacing coal smoke with wood smoke. And as President Obama makes a gesture toward nuclear energy, perhaps those fighting coal smoke who have some sense of history are saying, don’t replace coal burning with nuclear radiation.