Today, Gov. Mark Sanford cut the ribbon on the Statehouse steps in celebration of the deployment of 80-100 electric vehicle charging stations in nine South Carolina cities. One of those cities is Union which will hold it’s own ceremony Thursday celebrating the opening of not one but two charging stations at City Hall. Thursday’s event is not the end of the process but the beginning as the city is considering installing charging stations at the Timken Sports Complex and Lockhart Power.
In a larger sense, however, the ceremonies in Columbia, Union and, no doubt, the other cities now home or soon to be home to electric charging stations, are the beginning of an even greater process. These stations — and the automobiles they will serve — are part of the beginning of the historic transition of American society from the age of dependence on environmentally-destructive fossil fuels to a green power economy that, in time, will transform our world for the better.
This transition will not take place overnight as electric vehicles are only just beginning to come on stronger in the market and the infrastructure to service them is only just beginning to be built. We’re at the beginning of what will be a generational effort requiring patience, determination, forward-thinking and a willingness by the American people to rise to the challenge of building a better tomorrow.
Union’s charging stations are part of that beginning and the willingness of the city to embrace the future suggests this county will have a future. While it is wise to remember the past and learn from it, we cannot live in it, especially its worst and most destructive aspects. The increase in wealth, comfort and convenience achieved by the use of fossil fuels have made life better for humanity in general and Americans in particular. That achievement, however, has come at a great price; a price we’re only just beginning to grasp and one we will likely be paying for, for sometime to come.
We do not, however, have to add to the butcher’s bill of environmental degradation when alternatives are available and can be used to mitigate the price we, our children and grandchildren will have to pay for the comfort, convenience and fattened bank accounts of previous generations. The charging stations in Union and their counterparts already built, being built or soon to be built, and the vehicles they will serve are part of the beginning of a long overdue effort of mitigation, repair and revitalization of the environment.
Yes, it will take time and change will come slowly but that is no excuse not to begin the process of shedding the dead weight of our environmentally-abusive past. This process should have begun a long time ago and the fact it didn’t is a shame and disgrace; the consequences of which we will have to endure for quite some time.
The transition must begin now and the City of Union is a good place for it to start as its charging stations embody the kind of local, grassroots embrace of green technology required for the development of a truly environmentally-friendly economy.
The City of Union is leading the way toward a better future for us all and we should all applaud, support and do everything we can to help it bring that future into being.