New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez declared a state of emergency yesterday afternoon due to record-breaking cold temperatures and shortages in natural gas. These shortages are due in part to rolling blackouts in western Texas, from which several crucial natural gas lines originate and pump supply into New Mexico. Because Texas and most of the Southwest have never ever experienced temperatures this low, many of these processing and distribution companies aren't equipped with back up generators.
As a result, dozens of communities throughout the state have gone without gas and/or electricity for anywhere from a couple hours to several days. Emergency shelters have been set up, the Governor has turned the heat down in all state buildings, sent all non-essential employees home, closed all schools, and is urging households who do have power to conserve electricity and gas by not running washing machines, dishwashers, or electric clothes dryers.
Even Albuquerque has been affected. When I went into town yesterday for the first time in three days to do some banking, eat lunch, and pick up a few groceries, I found two restaurants within a several mile radius were shut down due to lack of power.
In typical news media fashion, our local television stations took the opportunity yesterday evening to not only investigate and report on the cause of the problem, but also to opinion poll the general public about their thoughts on this emergency. Which, of course, produced the usual variety of responses ranging from "drill, baby, drill" to "We must implement alternative energies NOW!" (what, you mean right now? as in, this instant?) to this mind-blowing comment:
"I don't know what the big deal is; people in third world countries regularly live with events just like this. It's time we Americans feel ashamed for just how pampered we are and learn to live with less."
To which I wrote in and responded: "Hey, dumb ass: those people living with less SUFFER and DIE because of it. Why don't you ask a child living in one of those third world countries if they'd rather: A. have electricity so they can sleep warm at night or, B. freeze to death out of some high-minded, altruistic impulse to "conserve."
Better yet, let's plunk this idiotic respondent down somewhere on the outskirts of Mumbai and see just how he or she can live without heat, electricity, and running water. My money's on about 24 hours before they go screaming off into the night in their Prius. Which is run by an electrically charged battery. Which eventually gets used up and ends up in a landfill. Whose chemical innards leak out into the soil, down into the ground water, on into our tap water, and . . . Okay, okay; they go screaming off into the night on a bicycle. Whose construction produces chemicals that leak out into . . .
Oh, never mind.