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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 14, 2008 at 4:33 PM

Planet in peril

Tick tock

While raising our granddaughter, who is now 3 years old, I wonder what is going to happen in her future. Will there still be personal vehicles when she is old enough to drive? Will she be able to walk outside without worrying about getting cancer? Will there still be polar ice caps for her to wonder over?

In my life, I have seen changes I never thought would happen.

So what does her future hold? We have had the technology to go green for more than 100 years when the first diesel engine was invented to run on peanut oil. We have allowed the special-interest groups to blind us with their TV ads and depended on the wrong groups of people to watch out for our futures.

Now is time to take back our futures, to have a say in how our lives evolve.

Going green is entirely possible. It would create jobs, make our world a much better place to live in. It would give us hope of a clean world — free of the toxins we have so eagerly thrown around for years believing they were safe.

I miss the green, wild and clean world I grew up in. In my lifetime, I have seen the greatest “accidents” happen to our world — ruining habitats for ever. I have seen the extinction of many species that will never return to our world.

Our planet is like a giant watch; we cannot keep removing little parts of it without it failing.

— Joseph Risenhoover, East Wenatchee

Go solar

If the Gates Foundation is wondering what more can be done besides education, health care or elimination of poverty, try solar energy.

One definition of being poor is lack of energy; one definition of being rich is having energy to waste. Solar energy allows the poverty-struck to make their own energy.

To a rich man, solar cooking is a joke. A rich man has electricity, charcoal, gas or propane. But to a refugee surrounded by land mines, a solar cooker is their only energy source. When you are sick, solar hot water is essential. Photoelectrics can power essential communications.

Concentrated sunlight can melt glass, distill water for drinking or refrigerate medicines. Bill Gates has a vision of eliminating poverty via better communications, I have another vision: eliminating poverty via renewable energy.

But this will not happen when capital investment for manufacturing for renewable energy is nonexistent. For example, Bill Gates is part owner of a coal-power plant on Navajo Indian land in New Mexico. He could be supportive of engineers and scientists who have been researching how to convert it economically to be solar-powered. Conversion of fossil-fuel-power plants to renewable energy would reduce global warming, environmental damage and resulting poverty.

The Gates Foundation would do wonders if it were more supportive of solar technology.

— Martin Nix, Seattle

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