Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Viva Atlanta?

As Edward Abbey once said, “There is no lack of water in the Mojave Desert unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”

Ah, Las Vegas: Artificial oasis in the desert. Monument to speculative excess. Sin City.

Whatever you choose to call it, Las Vegas is the largest per-capita consumer of water in the United States, coming in at a gluttonous 343 gallons/day (compare that to 200 in Los Angeles).

The view of the Las Vegas strip from cruising altitude is quite impressive. To many Americans it’s a beautiful sight. Unfortunately for me, it’s hard to appreciate a city whose high-powered fountains propel water hundreds of feet into a sky choking on the CO2 emitted by powering the Strip’s bright lights. Keeping those lights on requires enough energy to generate 160,000,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

All that CO2 reminds me of my destination. I’m on my way to Atlanta, where an epic drought is just another American story of global-warming induced disaster. There is talk of evacuating Atlanta in January, when the water is scheduled to run out.

So here’s my question: Might residents of Atlanta like to see “Shut Down Las Vegas” as an option on Focus The Nation’s Choose Your Future Vote on January 31st? At what point do we start actively targeting the many excessive, fundamentally useless sources of energy consumption in an effort to address this civilizational emergency? Or is there a way to power all those lights without the emissions?

Hmm….The Mojave sure is sunny.

Source: EERE

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