II re-read one of my favorite childhood books, A semester in the life of a trash bag, and I’m struck by how prescient it was. The truth is, I probably shouldn’t be surprised because the author, Gordon Korman, is a rare talent. He published his first book when he was 14 and has been writing ever since. His books are funny and full of laughs, filled with hilarious and unique characters. They are highly recommended for your primary or intermediate level children or grandchildren.
In Semester, DeWitt High School is the site of SACGEN, a Department of Energy Renewable Project. The school should theoretically be running at full capacity using only solar power, but the ‘Windmill’, as one student dubs it, regularly breaks down, disrupting and frustrating both students and teachers.
Here’s the problem: the school doesn’t have a backup plan in place. So not only is the leading anti-SACGEN agitator’s poker game misplaced, but computer data is lost and classes are regularly cut short.
In this children’s book from 1987, current renewable energies versus fossil fuels are summarized.
Even though many agree that a switch to renewable energy is necessary to protect against climate change, natural gas is still necessary to power our daily lives – from driving to electricity to the internet. We cannot afford – like DeWitt’s students – to have our lives constantly disrupted.
As we transition to renewables – or nuclear – stable and reliable sources of energy must remain viable, otherwise key institutions, including schools, hospitals and law enforcement, cannot function. And as long as we need it, the more we can produce ourselves, the less we will depend on the whims or cartels of dictators and blackmailers.
Europe is facing a truly scary winter due to its short-sighted reliance on Russian gas. In its enthusiasm for renewable energy, Europe has given a dictator incredible influence over the basic needs of millions of Europeans.
Even if renewables become the only agreed source of energy, the path must be followed with care and balance. Without forgetting that the debate on renewable energies is complex. It is often presented as a simple binomial of good versus evil, even if renewable energies can themselves cause climatic disasters. For example, clearing forests for wind turbines in Scotland or mining lithium in Chile.
That’s why I like to reread children’s books. Without fail, each re-reading stimulates new observations.
Shana Goldberg can be reached at [email protected]
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