Imagine if Elon Musk, Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year,” put his mind to minimizing the frequency of and damage from forest fires. Suppose that he also focused on helping the United States and the world deal with mitigating other damage that is already being done to Planet Earth as a result of climate change. Would he be contributing more to the wellbeing of humanity than his efforts to help us colonize Mars?
Musk is truly a remarkable man and is deserving of being Time’s “Person of the Year,” award, although I think that Joe Manchin would have been a better selection because of all the impact he has had on the progressive agenda. Musk’s automobile enterprise, Tesla, is currently the world’s biggest selling electric car company. He is also one of a handful of private pioneers of space travel with an ultimate goal of colonizing Mars. His SpaceX program is a main shuttle between Earth and the International Space Station and is truly innovative because in large part it is reusable.
Time estimates Musk’s current net worth to be $250 billion; that’s a quarter of a trillion dollars! He is by far the world’s wealthiest individual. Just a few years ago, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Bill Gates of Microsoft were duking it out for that honor, with net worths in the seventy billions of dollars.
But during the week of Musk’s mug on the face of Time, things happened on Earth which highlight the destruction that is already occurring on Earth as a result of climate change. A rash of tornados broke out across the country, killing nearly 100 people. The town of in Mayfield, Kentucky had a wide swath thoroughly decimated. Minnesota, which had never before had a tornado in December, had several.
A number of communities in the Midwest and South had record low temperatures. We’re not talking about cold weather; we’re referencing the highest December low temperatures on record.
The plains states were pummeled with straight-line winds of over one hundred miles per hour. Forest fires were occurring not only in California and Arizona, but also in Kansas and Nebraska.
It is not as if the world is not trying to combat climate change; individuals in all countries are working diligently on inventing and installing greener modes of energy to help power their countries. Elon Musk may be doing more than anyone individual with his development of the electric cars powered by more powerful batteries, that he too has played a large role in inventing.
If we get to a world dominated by electric cars, it will cut back on the emissions of gasoline-powered cars that contribute so much to climate change. But much damage to the climate has already been done. We need to engage in accelerated remedial work on this planet. These will be extremely costly, and that’s where Musk and his resources come in.
Much of the West Coast is experiencing prolonged drought. Many western states are experiencing forest fires the likes of which we have never seen before. These conflagrations will continue for decades or centuries before we could make enough positive changes to the environment to minimize such natural disasters.
So how could we either prevent or minimize or minimize the damage of forest fires? Clearly, one way is to provide enormous quantities of fresh water to the areas at risk. Here is a possible idea:
We should develop enormous desalination plants along the American coast of the Pacific Ocean. Build huge pipelines from the plants to areas in the west that are experiencing drought and are at greatest risk for forest fires. Desalination is the process by which salt water is heated to the boiling point and then the steam in condensed into pools of fresh water. The salt and other impurities are left behind to be disposed in an environmentally safe fashion. The fresh water can then be pumped inland to the areas most likely to spawn forest fires, or farmland which needs to be irrigated, or to freshwater reservoirs to directly serve individuals and businesses.
This would cost enormous amounts of money, but it would save billions of dollars by preventing destruction. It would also create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs. Musk could utilize his resources to be part of a team that designs, manufactures and installs these systems. It could even be profit-making with reimbursements from both governments and private utilities.
While this may seem like an overwhelming project, let’s remember that Musk has established himself as a premier player in the race to Mars. That excites and engages many people, but right now we need to address new and increasing calamities occurring on Earth. Mr. Musk, please focus on where we all live.