2012.10.31 Ryan Shadbolt: Vote 'yes' on Proposal 3

Doing the right thing is often not easy or cheap or both. Current methods for generating electricity are not sustainable. We use fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas at a much faster rate than they are created. These fuels will not be easily available forever and accessing them is destructive to the surrounding environment. A natural bi-product of burning these fuels results in the release of carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas that has been proven to warm our atmosphere and planet. Other pollutants from this burning are harmful for us to breathe. Often this coal or natural gas has to be transported long distances to our state, which is expensive. 

In contrast, energy created naturally by wind is right here with us and can be generated locally. Yes, wind energy generation requires installing wind turbines, but installation and upkeep will create jobs. Yes, turbines do create a small amount of noise as they spin, but the sound is minimal and certainly no louder than the cars passing by our houses that we somehow manage to easily ignore.

Yes, installing these turbines will include a cost, but it is an investment in our future. It is an investment in future generations. It is the right thing to do. Our state has the opportunity to be bold and be a leader in moving our entire country forward toward a future of clean and reliable renewable sources of energy. Voting “yes” on Proposal 3 is the easiest way to take this bold step.

For those in favor of Proposal 3: even if the proposal does not receive a majority vote on election day, do not despair. Many utility companies have programs allowing you to opt-in to renewable energy. For example, DTE Energy has a “Green Currents” program and Consumers Energy has its “Green Generation” program. Contact your utility company for more information.

– Ryan P. Shadbolt, Ph.D.

East Lansing, Mich.