Coal gets a bad rap. Those of you who know me are probably freaking out right now, has Ella lost her mind?!?
But it’s true. Coal has been awesome. Coal has allowed us to create electricity at a cheap price, which has in turn allowed us to develop the quality of life that we have now. It has allowed modern conveniences to be used affordably in every home. It has allowed industry to develop, employment opportunities and affluence to grow. It revolutionised things like being able to see at night time, keep food fresh and access information and entertainment.
Coal has grown towns like Collie, and it could be accessed ‘early on’ as the mining techniques were achievable with the technology available last century. Coal has been a very important part in Australias development and every one of us has benefited from it.
But it’s over. Or darn well should be.
Coal is now moving into the outdated technology realm. It has given us the ability to find the better alternative. We couldn’t have made solar panels, wind farms etc etc without the coal-fired electricity being there first. It has done it’s job and done it well. Time to move on.
With the ability the world now has to power entire communities – and in some cases entire countries – I see there is no excuse to be clinging to coal.
Yes, we absolutely need to support those in the coal industry with re-training and re-employment. But protecting those existing coal jobs is not a reason to stop the transition to renewable energy. The nightcart man lost his job (and yes it probably caused stress for his family) when we moved to flushing toilets, but no-one has regretted that change in technology! It was cleaner, with better public health benefits. Same as the switch from coal to renewables will be.
We simply can’t keep polluting our atmosphere when we have a better option. It’s madness. I cannot understand why the Carmichael Coal Mine in Queensland got the go ahead, coal is sooo last century. Arguments about ‘cleaner’ coal seem as silly as ‘healthier’ cigarettes. Better to quit smoking completely. Or quit coal completely.
Yes, the switch will cost money. Yes, there will be some upheaval as people switch jobs and infrastructure is modified. Yes, there will be teething problems. But not only is it worth it, we have both international and intergenerational obligations to do it.
Coal, you’ve been great. But you’re ready to retire. Now. Please.
Photos: uSwitch.com, https://au.pinterest.com/RiawatiDjuwita/aussie-dunny-outback/, Katanning EcoHouse.