Cow manure can produce methane gas. Methane gas can be used to produce energy. And that explains the source of our home’s energy. All of it.
Really, our home is powered by cow manure. Read all about CVPS’s Cow Power program. For the state of Vermont, a big dairy farm and energy conservation state, cow power makes way too much sense.
I can’t remember when I realized it, but one day I realized that all of the electricity in my home has to come from somewhere. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I really never gave the source of my electricity much thought. Perhaps all of the hemming and hawing over the Yankee Power Plant in Brattleboro, VT opened my eyes to the energy question. Seeing this book also helped: Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future.
Let’s face it, human civilizations have generally got along OK without electricity. In fact, some people today go without such as the author of this book: Better Off : Flipping the Switch on Technology.
Now I’m not one to decry technology and electricity, but . . . Let’s at least face up to this: our consumption of energy is ruining our environment whether through nuclear power, mining for coal, or burning coal. Also our reliance on natural gas, a fossil fuel, will eventually catch up with us in the form of pollution and climate change.
“Fossil fuels produce emissions that pollute the air we breathe and altering climate patterns over the long term. The use of fossil fuels in electricity production is a leading cause of these global climate change and air quality problems. On the other hand, clean energy technologies produce no emissions, with the exception of biomass which still produces significantly fewer emissions than fossil fuels. As a result, increased use of clean energy benefits the global environment and local human health.” From the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
A responsible path forward includes both clean/renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. Dishing out the extra cash for more efficient light bulbs or only using the light you need can go a long way in cutting an electric bill in half.
But all of this talk about clean/renewable energy and energy efficiency seems to suggest we have a bit of work to do. Why can’t we keep things the way they are?
Well . . . a couple of reasons. First of all, my guiding principle above all else is our status as caretakers or tenants of this world. This world ultimately is the Lord’s. He made it and maintains it. He placed humans here to use it for their own benefit, but also to tend it.
Conservation and consumption are a both important. The problems come when we consume more than we conserve or our consumption damages our conservation.
And think about this. Our lives are mere blips on the screen of history. Who are we to wreck the world for the generations to come? (yes Adam, provided that God and Kirk Cameron tarry in laying waste to things)
About God’s destruction of this world . . . I’m not so sure that is the correct interpretation of a really wacky book of the Bible. The church fathers almost tossed Revelation because it made no sense. That should give us pause.
The book of Revelation talks about a new heavens and a new earth. It talks about all kinds of destruction. But does that mean that this world will be obliterated? Could this book be interpreted in a spiritual sense? Could the new earth be a renewal of the earth we have now? The possibilities are endless.
There is more to say about our use of energy. If our use of energy is contributing to climate change, then we are really making some trouble many, many people, if not ourselves. Rising sea levels won’t just wipe out the large trophy homes dotting the east coast of America, they will also destroy the homes of thousands upon thousands throughout the world, including Asia and Indonesia.
I should note in the midst of all this, that I am a city/suburban guy living in the country (well, Arlington is a small village, but you get my drift). My first thought during my first evening as a Vermont resident was: “Dang, it’s really dark out here!” I’m still uncomfortable in the vast darkness of the country. Even a neighbor on one side doesn’t make me feel any better.
My point? I have a long way to go. I have grown used to artificial light. I expect to have light in the evening . . . and lots of it. It’s uncomfortable, difficult, and disrupting. What else should I expect?
And now I expect high winds to knock out our power tonight in honor of this post!