DANIEL OF THE YEAR | In Honduras, many residents feel trapped by poverty, violence, and addiction. Michael Miller has spent two decades hitting the streets and devoting his life to some of the country’s youngest and most vulnerable
What man has not dreamed at some time of being Adam, plopped on this floating rock and told to survive. It is the theme of many a movie—Swiss Family Robinson, Cast Away—and even escape rooms and post-apocalyptic stories are really disguised fantasies of a first human, blinking in the light, thrown in a world with no instruction manual and ordered to master it (Genesis 1:26). This is both God’s playfulness and His gift to us, the presents He has hidden to be found and unwrapped one by one.
We speak of resources in the earth, but a resource is not a resource until raw material meets human ingenuity. Fire, however stumbled on, was but a fearful curiosity until some genius thought to roast his mastodon over it. Silver, bronze, and gold slept in impatience until Bezalel son of Uri woke their potential as tabernacle lamps and cups that God Himself took pleasure in.
Which is to say, God meant for earth to bear a human footprint.
Consider fossil fuels. What comes to mind by that phrase? Filth? Pollution? Fossil fuels are caches of living things long dead that God, in His thoughtfulness, saved for us till we should learn to tap their benefit for man. “Come and listen to my story ’bout a man named Jed. Poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed. And then one day he was shootin’ at some food, and up from the ground came a bubblin’ crude. Oil, that is, black gold, Texas tea.”
We never hear of the positives of fossil fuel, and we never hear of the negatives of wind and solar.
The fossil fuel industry needs better PR. It supplies 80 percent of the world’s power, and makes life bearable and climate-proofed on this rock for large swaths of humanity, yet seems embarrassed about it. The first I ever heard of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) was not from a proud Chesapeake Energy or BP TV commercial but from a neighbor who saw Gasland but didn’t bother to see FrackNation.
Yet no other energy source has figured out how to generate electricity, heating, and transportation as cheaply and abundantly and on a worldwide scale. Far from causing climate-related deaths, the fossil fuel industry has protected us from climate-related deaths. It is the industry that powers all other industries. It turned black liquid decay into prosperity for 4 billion people. We need more of it, not less of it, to reach the other 3 billion.
Look around your room. Most things in it were made with hydrocarbons (fossil fuels)—your pen, the ink on your paper, the buttons on your shirt, your hair products, all coatings on furniture, the fertilizer that grew your clothes, the trucks that brought them to market, your air conditioner or heater. There is no wind or solar way to replace a combine harvester. Outlaw the fossil fuel industry, and you and I will not be inconvenienced: We will be dead.
We never hear of the positives of fossil fuel, and we never hear of the negatives of wind and solar. But those chic panels on your neighbor’s roof are made using caustic chemicals, require electricity to manufacture, and pose environmental problems in the disposal. Wind and sun are nice but as intermittent and unreliable as, well, wind and sun. Good luck with the Green New Deal’s 10-year plan to meet 100 percent of our energy needs with so-called renewable sources.
To see the horror on people’s faces at the mention of carbon dioxide (CO2), I sometimes wonder if they’re getting it confused with carbon monoxide (CO). Hey, carbon monoxide is that poisonous, odorless gas people commit suicide with by leaving their cars running in a closed garage! Carbon dioxide is that good guy that trees love to breathe, that drives plant growth (that’s why greenhouses trap three times more CO2 than our atmosphere), and that therefore promotes the kind of crop yields that have saved millions from starvation and malnutrition.
Here’s a question: If the green movement were really about scary carbon dioxide, why are they suppressing nuclear and hydroelectric power too, technologies that produce no CO2 and that are the only other two realistic candidates for worldwide scale energy supply? What is the greens’ real game? It wouldn’t be governmental control of every aspect of human life and economy through a ginned-up environmental crisis. Would it?