Month 4, Day 5: Sticker Shock

This is, plain and simple, horrible news.

I wrote the following letter to the Boston Globe.

While the Shen Neng disaster is tragic enough for its implications to the world’s largest coral reef and its unique ecosystems, it is also a warning: we need to understand the huge hidden costs of so-called “cheap energy.”

The Chinese coal ship could just as well be a picture of miners with black-lung disease, or a Tennessee village destroyed by a broken coal ash dam, for these tragedies are undeniable costs of the coal we burn. It could just as well be the loss of the polar ice cap, or the terribly devastating storms triggered by global climate change, for these are unacknowledged costs of our addiction to oil. Until our economic models include these factors in the price of our energy (along with the expensive wars we wage to protect our sources), we will be living obliviously and unsustainably. With catastrophic climate change looming on the horizon, it seems clear that our fossil-fueled paradise will soon be going the way of the dinosaurs.

Warren Senders

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