Killer Kilowatts - Blood In The Wires

Oct 2, 2015

Most Wanted Killer Energy in the US : OIL !

It's all about the pollution right?   It certainly is, and is reason enough to end reliance on killer kilowatts.  Yet, as you can see from this Forbes Article the RADICALLY higher death toll in China from coal plants, it's also about exporting pollution and abusing poorly protected workers.

The price of cheap energy and products (across the whole world) are companies and countries ignoring sustainable energy, manufacturing and business choices, instead basing all decisions on maximizing immediate profits and thus cheaping out on energy choices, pollution controls not just on factories, but the mines, farms, refiners, and power plants feeding them, and almost as an after thought, keeping workers so poor they will endure the hazardous environments created.

You can't be blamed for assuming any job, any pay, allows poor and poorly protected workers in "emerging" economies to live better.  Yet workers drawn to foreign sweatshops come from rural areas with subsistence farming.  Not a fun existence to be sure.  However one could argue pulling weeds and living in a one room thatched roof house beats pulling 12 hr shifts 6 days a week at risk from industrial chemicals, equipment and RSI's, living in barracks if lucky (China), shipping containers (Mid East oil countries), or shanty towns without power, water or electricity (Mexican 'free trade zone' working for US Corporations) all for far less money than it takes to let you get ahead.

So, while we are improving our lot in the developed world, buying green energy, coating our roofs with PV's, buying organic, voting to clean up pollution, etc., remember those bleeding to support us, and think how you can improve their lot.  Buy from not just sustainable businesses using renewable energy, but also environmentally sustainably and socially responsible.  Support laws to encourage, even force trading partners to develop sustainable policies, renewable energy and protect their workers.  Donate to charities helping people boot strap themselves up - which often involves first improving their energy situation, from efficient one pot stoves from locally sourced scrap to cut energy costs and reduce local pollution, to tiny renewable energy systems providing some light at night for children to study by, often one of the biggest barriers to improving ones lot. 

For more info check out links to how this is playing out in  Mexico:, China: For Pollution and for Social Issues and the Mideast:  

Keywords:  Sustainable Development; Sustainability; Pollution, Energy; Carbon; CO2