Soaring oil and gas prices and the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have finally brought an issue into sharp focus for the public: When it comes to energy, we’re in trouble! We import far more crude oil than we produce in the United States; fully 70 percent of our oil comes from five countries in the Middle East, arguably the most volatile and politically unstable region in the world.
We need to develop sustainable, renewable, safe sources of energy to provide power for our homes and businesses. One real danger is, however, that as the memory of Katrina fades and the prices drop at the gas pump, the public will also lose focus, and fail to continue the pressure needed for politicians to generate change. What we need is a standard bearer – a big, vocal, powerful, charismatic standard bearer.
So, Donald… When are you going to build the world’s first off-the-grid skyscraper?
Just think of it – wind turbines on the roof, sheets of solar panels covering the south side of the building, and, to heat and cool the building, biodiesel, manufactured on site from discarded vegetable oil collected from the best restaurants in Manhattan. In the interior, piped-in sunlight brightens the living area while saving on electricity; a gray-water system recycles water throughout the building and can be reused for showers, baths, and lush gardens on every floor. Bamboo flooring and other renewable materials create a rich ambiance while promoting the concept of green living.
While you’re at it…
How does an “Adopt a Smokestack” campaign sound?
In talking about decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, one alternative being discussed is relying more on domestically mined coal. At this moment, coal burning is already responsible for generating more electricity in the U.S. than any other method. Unfortunately, much of this coal is being burned by obsolete, highly polluting utility plants. In the Midwest alone, over a hundred aging coal burning plants spew out pollutants responsible for acid rain which has killed hundreds of lakes, streams, and rivers in the Northeast. Large amounts of mercury from these plants are deposited in the water and end up in both freshwater and ocean fish, turning one of the healthiest sources of protein into one of the most dangerous – mercury in fish threatens the unborn children of women who ingest it, threatening neurological damage which results in a lifelong sentence of some measure of disability. Airborne pollutants are also responsible for an exponential increase in asthma, particularly in children. Increasing the use of coal without implementing immediate pollution controls would only intensify the pollution and its consequences.
Environmental experts familiar with coal burning plants estimate that it would cost a million dollars per smokestack to decrease the pollutants emitted to acceptable levels. The utility plants themselves have resisted this expenditure, and have lobbied successfully to stop governmental enforcement of environmental regulations; the fledgling Bush administration quickly stopped lawsuits, begun by the EPA during the Clinton administration, which would have forced these plants to implement pollution controls.
So, Donald, where do you come in? With your visibility, your cult status, and your corporate clout, you could easily raise the money to fix every smokestack in the country. NFL and NBA players, CEOs, Hollywood actors, producers, and directors, multimillionaires with old money and new – and don’t forget Oprah – all have the means to donate a million dollars, or more, to adopt a smokestack. We could virtually eliminate the pollution problem from these coal burning plants in short order – much more quickly than will be accomplished by lawsuits and governmental interference. We could offer to fix these smokestacks in exchange for one promise – that the utility plants do not sell their pollution credits to anyone else.
All of the technology needed for both of these projects is available today, and would put this country on the path to sustainability and energy independence in short order. And Donald, you could pull it off, in grand style.
I can see into the future: a Newsweek cover with a picture of a towering Donald Trump, and the title, “Donald Trump Saves the World.” Has a nice ring to it.