Challenge #01552-D091: A Lesson to Learn
Something from a non-human perspective about the deaths-per-terawatt-hour rates of various power sources in the early 21st century [source #1, #2, update of #1], and the irrationality of pushing for more coal over renewables (cough cough current Australian government), or literally anything over nuclear - even without fusion - please?
...especially when you take into account that living within 50 miles of a coal-fired plant exposes you to over three times as much ionising radiation per year as living within the same distance of a nuclear plant? [source] -- RecklessPrudence
From Humanity: A History by Grolrax F'tizzle...
Humans are very fond of their own inventions. Proof of this is their adoration of the invention of fire, before recorded history. This is despite evidence that starting fires voluntarily has been discovered independently in several different areas at several different times. In the early periods of human development, humans did not go far from setting things on fire to derive light and energy for their environmental tailoring.
Even into the dawn of their technology age, during the time when their species was taking its baby steps into space travel, most of the population was deriving energy from burning things. Their chief and most popular combustive agent at this time was petrified remnants of dead peat swamps, commonly called 'coal'. The other was the compressed and heated remains of pre-historic animal fats, commonly called 'oil'. Terrans burning both of these agents took some time to recognise that the combustion byproducts were toxic, and even longer to reduce the toxic emissions.
Primitive humans are very averse to loss of perceived profit. When confronted with a sensible choice or money, primitive humans would much prefer money.
Some humans, not motivated by profit, spent some time and energy in developing energy sources that did not involve burning things. Some chose the sun, rivers, and the wind, easily exploitable natural and renewable resources. Others chose to boil water through heat generated by controlled fission. In short - burning things in a more toxic hat.
It should be not surprising in the study of Terran History that humans took decades to deny the lethality of fission energy as well as the fact that fissionable materials are far rarer, and the waste from the process is far more toxic. The fact that the deaths attributable to solar and wind power are all accidents in the process of maintenance... whereas the deaths attributable to 'burning' technology can encompass both accident and toxic waste... is a fact that is lost on many humans due to their worship of profit.
Even when the renewable energy technology had reached a point when swapping over to it would be relatively easy, the early humans refused. The sources of combustive agents were plentiful and earning a lot of money. It did not matter that the combustive pollution had reached a point where sea levels were rising and human life was in danger. Proponents of combustion energy used their profits to keep their place as the chief source of both energy and death.
It wasn't until islands owned by those rendered wealthy by combustion had those islands rendered unsafe by the ruin they made that those in profit finally realised that they had made a mistake in denying the danger inherent in their own inaction/
Of course, by then, it was almost too late to save the human race. Fortunately, some colonies had already begun down one-way wormholes, and human genetic diversity was preserved. The wealthy retreated to arc vaults and everyone left behind was left to cope for themselves.
Eventually, in the Redistribution Revolution, the cryo-sleeping wealthy were shipped off down a wormhole with one, brave, revivification technician, their money (which had since been rendered worthless) and one small manual for survival skills, with illustrations. This colony has yet to be found and it is speculated that the once-wealthy died of starvation whilst fighting over their useless money.
Fortunately for Terrans, smarter minds prevailed in the end. Now coal and oil are used for purposes of chemistry, making improvements on extant solar, hydro, or wind power or lubricating the turbines. Not that there is much need. Terrans have all the power they need, and plenty to spare. There is no profit in this, of course, but having clean air, clean water, and healthier people.
So very many refused to see the profit angle in that that Galactic Society debated the true value of Terran cogniscence for years.
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