In the UK, another coal power station closes. A 51-year-old coal power station has been turned off for the final time. It will not be turned back on. Although great news for our planet, it’s sad news for many of the workers — any time the place you work closes its doors is devastating for its workers even though they knew a time would come when this power station would shut down.
The Cottam power plant in Nottinghamshire was only supposed to operate for 30 years. It produced enough electricity to power 3.7 million homes. Now it will take between 6 to 12 months to decommission the power station and the buildings will most likely be leveled. A Greenpeace spokesperson told the BBC: “The dwindling days of coal is good news for the planet. This dirty fuel is one of the key drivers of the climate emergency and switching to clean renewable energy is key to tackling it.”
The UK government wants to phase out its coal-fired plants by 2025 to help reduce carbon emissions. I can understand the sadness and frustration of the workers. When many people work 40 or more hours a week, they spend most of their time at a job that takes up a big part of their lives. Losing that job can be like losing someone — that someone being a part of yourself because you’ve put so much of your time into that job.
In his video titled Stop Wasting Your Life, Prince Ea points out something alarming that many people don’t realize. “On average, we live for about 80 years. We start working at about 18 and we work until we retire at about 67. This tells us that the majority of our lives will be spent at work.” So I can imagine what it’s like spending my time at one job and then have it close. You put all this time into your work and suddenly, it’s over. You’re lost, adrift, and you don’t know what you’re going to do next to pay your bills.
The closing of the plant is a good thing for our world. The transition from coal and fossil fuels to energy sustainability is a good thing and I believe that there will be jobs in those fields — jobs for people who work hard, and want to make a difference. We need to look at the closing of this plant not as an ending of an era, but a change in evolution. According to the US Energy Information Administration, many emissions result from burning coal — the fuel that Cottam used.
- Sulfur dioxide contributes to acid rain and respiratory illnesses
- Nitrogen oxides contribute to smog and respiratory illnesses.
- Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas that is also produced from burning oil and natural gas, as well as coal.
- Mercury has been linked to neurological and developmental damage in both humans and animals.
Those are just some of the emissions. We are breathing this stuff in every day worldwide. While we are on the subject of coal, let’s not forget how toxic the mines are due to methane which is released due to coal mining activities. In 2008, a United Mine Workers spokesman, Phil Smith, told CNN that “Metals aren’t explosive, they don’t liberate methane when you mine them and the dust doesn’t catch fire.”
Perhaps we should start investing more of our lives into making this world a better place for all of us. Why should one man have to work 80-100 hours a week to change the world alone? Why should it be just on him and a few others when we can do our parts right now? We can start with baby steps. One way is to realize that we have a problem — many people seem closed-minded to that fact. Learn from people like Elon Musk and Greta Thunberg — see how they are doing their parts and start there. I think that together, we can all change the world.