With a name like Big Pit: National Coal Mining Museum -- located in Blaenafon, Torfaen, South Wales -- you would think the place would keep with the theme by powering their museum with the very same stuff they tore apart the land to get. In an ironic twist, the museum has installed 200 solar panels atop the building's roof, providing them with a constant energy source that produces no harmful emissions. In truth, this is merely a nice little perk in comparison to what they really gain from their decision to go eco-friendly. In fact, one can say the museum is making the green by going green.
This striking statistic and chart comes from this well-sourced Next Big Future article (interactive data visualization available here), which places the average number of deaths per terawatt-hour at 0.04 for nuclear (this takes Chernobyl into account), 36 for oil, and a whopping 161 for coal worldwide. The death rate per TWh of coal is even higher in China, at 278. (A terawatt-hour is the amount of work done by one terawatt of power expended for one hour of time.) The deaths from traditional fuel sources are generally not as high-profile as those from nuclear energy -- particularly the one million deaths that the World Health Organization estimates occur each year due to coal-related air pollution. But this only serves to illustrate the tendency of people -- and the media that feeds that tendency -- to focus on the high-impact and low-probability rather than the pervasive and pernicious. (Next Big Future and IBM via Seth Godin via clusterflock)
Michael Beard, Minnesota State Representative, Thinks God Replaces Natural Resources After We Exhaust Them
Talking to the MinnPost, Minnesota State Representative Michael Beard let slip that he feels coal mining should resume in Minnesota because he believes God made an Earth that wouldn't let its natural resources run out.
"God is not capricious. He's given us a creation that is dynamically stable. We are not going to run out of anything."It seems Representative Beard hasn't ever played any kind of real-time strategy game, or, you know, hasn't been paying attention to things like gas prices. I wonder if he considers the Ozone as something that is able to be depleted of which we're not going to run out. When discussing whether or not human beings have the power to ruin the Earth, Beard responded,
"It is the height of hubris to think we could."To be fair, the Republican representative does bring up a good point: Given what destruction befalls planet, life has always been able to adapt and survive. Granted, though, there hasn't been a global extinction for quite a while, and on top of that, said global extinction didn't involve humans. He seems to have meant well, but meaning well doesn't make mining out the inside of Minnesota until there's nothing left any better. (MinnPost via The Huffington Post)