Throw Out the Cookie Jar …. And Save the Planet

CERLogo_FINAL-resizedAs a lifetime Weight Watcher, I have learned a few tricks.

The most helpful to me was this one: Banish red light food from your home…and keep healthy food cut up and ready to eat at the front of your refrigerator in plastic see-through containers.  Now what does that have to do with saving the planet?  Well, a whole lot.

Fracked gas is not healthy for people or the climate. Neither is nuclear-powered electricity. These are red-light energy products, the healthy alternatives being solar and wind energy. Even knowing this, companies profiting from red light dirty energies cannot resist the cookie jar of continuing as a bridge solution.

I say: let’s throw out their cookie jar and save the planet.

On July 24, I will ride down to Philadelphia with hundreds of other Jewish climate activists to march for a Clean Energy Revolution. It’s time to stop relying on dirty energy.

Fracking ruins the water and sickens people, animals, and farmland.  Fracking sends methane into the air, which accelerates global warming.  In New York State where fracking is banned, using fracked gas to make electricity is not banned! Nor is using fracking wastewater for a variety of harmful uses. Nor are dangerous fracked gas pipelines.

Would we ban manufacture of full fat ice cream in New York State…but let Haagen-Dazs ship its full fat product from out of state and sell it here in New York without penalty? To justify this craziness, a story has been cooked up that fracked gas for electricity is needed as “bridge fuel” until renewables such as solar and wind energy produce at a scale necessary to satisfy our energy needs.

The same ploy is used to justify the continued use of our failing nuclear plant at Indian Point – namely, that nuclear powered electricity is needed as a bridge until renewables become more readily available.  This is even crazier. When the aging plant at Indian Point breaks down (frequently), there is no power crisis.  Doesn’t this tell us something?

Yet under the influence of the nuclear power lobby, the NY Public Service Commission withholds information as to whether or not the plant is really needed.

Consider this: Should the plant melt down in a Chernobyl-like situation, twenty million New Yorkers would be affected. In an act of immense folly, a fracked gas pipeline (Spectra Algonquin Incremental Market Pipeline) running close to the plant has been approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, provoking fear and outrage from people living along the pipeline route in Buchanan who are aware of the implications.  Many protesters have been arrested, though they’ve been rewarded with woefully inadequate press coverage given the gravity of the situation.

So long as unhealthy alternatives exist, our ridiculous inability to move forward in adopting renewable energy will continue. The “bridge” argument will continue to hold sway.  We need national legislation to ban all fracking and close all nuclear electricity plants. With no more ice cream in the refrigerator, no more cookie jars on the shelf, we will have to get serious about encouraging a market for renewables – and it will be built very quickly when the bridge argument will no longer be possible.  Many investors have seen the successes Europe has had in throwing out the non-renewable cookie jar… and they are ready to jump in and rapidly create an American renewable energy market. This will save the planet.

Our ancestors followed Talmudic decisions wherever they lived, from Vilna to Fez to Baghdad. We come from a tradition of careful deliberation informing far-reaching policy decisions. We are fortunate to be Jewish-Americans. March with us in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy, for a Clean Energy Revolution on July 24, 2016. It’s time for us to call on Congress and our fellow citizens to carefully deliberate and get serious about setting sane energy policy.  It’s the right thing to do.

Sign up today for the bus from Brooklyn and Manhattan to Philadelphia for the March.


Rachel Makleff, PhD, works on the committee organizing the March for New Yorkers.

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