I am an energy consumer. There is no dancing around this. I take public transit and, when needed, I drive my hybrid to the grocery store. I buy local, but lately the persimmons from Israel call me. Growing up in California, we used to make fun of our parents for reusing glass jars and re- purposing old cardboard boxes. Now, my husband thinks I’m a recycling fanatic. I work in a room with natural light. However, just as I’m about to feel good about this, I realize I’ve left the light on in the other room! My awareness is expanding and my energy efficiency is increasing. I like to think I’m “green,” but it’s relative.
We all have basic needs to feed, clothe and house our families. However, the majority of our nation would be hard pressed to grow food, spin cloth or build a small hut. Our “energies” are spent in work that provides us with means to acquire our basic needs. Too often it’s a political tap dance around our economy, our environment, energy, transportation … however you name it, energy is a partner.
In the United States, 20% of our electricity generation mix is from nuclear sources. To put it in perspective – “Could we be without energy for more than one day a week?” I think so, but at the cost of what? It is not a viable option with our struggling economy, nor is it a choice many would want for our lives.
What to do? It is important to maintain a responsible voice at the decision table regarding energy. However, the focus of the discussion needs to shift to “Why don’t we recycle used fuel vs “Why use nuclear energy as part of our energy mix?”
We must make our way today with an open mind for our future and a critical eye to the past. We are the stewards of our communities. We are decision-makers. We are energy consumers. We can’t dance around that.
Rosie Abriam is the President/CEO for The Center for Asian Pacifica American Women. “The Center” is a non-profit organization which develops stewardship in our communities by building leadership capacity across sectors. In a past life she worked on NARAC-National Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability. NARAC is an emergency response program which monitors the release of radionuclides into the atmosphere. For her work on dose modeling and remote site management, she was awarded the Distinguished Physics Award from the lab director. In another life, she developed laser applications for gas & oil, biomedical and research sectors.
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