TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

August 12, 2013

Shading the Son


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — The bright snow soon got a light sprinkle of black dust. The chilly winter skies received billows of black smoke from every chimney. We could always tell when the man of the house was in the basement stoking his coal furnace — his smoke was even blacker, emitting large particles of soot. But it did not bother us as first graders sled-riding in 1939. Inhaling coal smoke with winter winds was never given a thought. It was good-old, sled-riding weather and that smoke in the air was just part of winter.

And so it has been for how many centuries that we get our energy to sustain our lives by raising a lot of smoke. We have dug, drilled, chopped, bulldozed, removed mountaintops and even mountains. Everywhere we live or go we’ve been in need of energy.

All energy comes ultimately from the sun. Fossil fuel has been found to give us energy from the sun that has been stored for millions of years in the crust of the earth. Similarly wood holds the heat of sunny days that are decades past.

Along with automobiles during the past century, heavy industry has brought along heavy air contamination. The unavoidable CO2 emissions from burning these fossil fuels has elevated CO2 levels so high that the damage to our atmosphere is irreversible.

Hopefully our grandchildren will be laughing at us. Hopefully they will be wondering why we wanted to tear up the earth and damage its air for the stored energy of the sun, when most of the earth experiences direct energy every day from the sun. The intensely sunny parts of the earth can send the sun’s power to less sunny areas.

Less expensive solar panels (photovoltaic – PV) will keep popping up on our sunny rooftops (eliminating blackouts; as with our present electric power when severe storms strike).

The about-to-be-opened, sun-powered electric generating plant in Ivanpah, Nev., (a $2.2billion, 4,000 acre installation in the Mojave Desert, magnifying the sun 28,000 times with mirrors producing 392 megawatts — enough to power 140,000 homes) stands as the sign of things to come; no coal burning, no CO2 emissions, no air contamination!

Hopefully our grandchildren will laugh at the absurdity of our burning fossil fuel to get the sun’s energy.  And hopefully, may they also laugh at the absurdity of our generation blocking The Son – shading ourselves with disbelief and rejection of Jesus Christ, Savior of the World and the Son of God.

“In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” [John 1: 4,5]

“O unbelieving and perverse generation…how long shall I put up with you?” {Mt. 17:17]

May coal ash never darken our snows, nor the Son of God be shaded.

The Rev. John Burkhart  Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of  psychology

jandmburkhart@yahoo.com blog at inspirationsandideas