Concrete and steel are two of these immutable things. They form the basis of modern life, what gives shape to almost any structure around us.
This is partly why I am absolutely addicted to videos about explosions and demolitions of power plants. Seeing chimneys and cooling towers that must stand the test of time, shot down with a few well-placed explosives is a sight to behold. There is tension in these videos, a flash of light followed by a delayed thud as the sound is captured by the spectacle. Then there are a few precarious seconds, which seem like an eternity, when the person seems to refuse to give in to their inevitable fate. Are the explosives placed correctly to knock out the structural supports? Was the timing right?
It is inevitable that these questions will be answered with a loud crash, when the concrete collapses, its previously rigid form will fall apart. Towers fall like a shirt or trousers accidentally thrown on a bed. Persistence is canceled.
These explosions are, in a sense, a metaphor for the end of fossil fuels in general. That a few well-placed metaphorical explosives could force the industry responsible for damaging the planet to collapse on itself. V Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, for example, helped retire or offered to write off 348 coal-fired power plants in the United States. However, the explosions are also a reminder that people in the industry will need help.
I invite you to think about these points and what a fossil-free future might look like. But also just watch these explosions in awe, because, listen, they are really cool. They are definitely more fun to look at than Lions-bears game…