There are certain things in life we take for granted. Flip a switch, the lights go on; our refrigerators and other appliances work and our tech devices get charged. But what if the electricity went out, not just for a day or two or a period of weeks, but months or even years? How many
There are certain things in life we take for granted. Flip a switch, the lights go on; our refrigerators and other appliances work and our tech devices get charged. But what if the electricity went out, not just for a day or two or a period of weeks, but months or even years? How many of us could survive such a catastrophe?
Our civilian electric grid on which we all depend is vulnerable–not only to cyber-attacks and physical assaults, but to something called electromagnetic pulse (EMP). At a Senate hearing on the electric grid this past July, here is what Sen. Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said: “The purpose of this hearing is basically to pull our heads out of the sand. This is a threat that is real, and we need to acknowledge.”
There are two ways that electromagnetic pulse can be generated with the potential to take down our grid. Neither way is science fiction. First, a major solar storm can generate enough electromagnetic pulse to seriously damage or destroy our vulnerable grid. In 1859, a big solar storm hit Planet Earth. But as experts have noted, that was back in the days of the horse & buggy and telegraph. Another solar storm occurred in 1921. And there was a near miss in 2012 when a solar storm hit Earth’s orbit. Two years later, Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado, wrote the following in NASA Science: “I have come away from our studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the eruption happened when it did. If the eruption had occurred one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire.”
Our grid is also at risk from a man-made attack from a rogue regime like Iran or North Korea. All they need to do is place a nuclear device on a missile and explode it high above our atmosphere. That too could generate enough electromagnetic pulse to take down our grid. And after a period of months, or a year or more without a fully functioning electric grid, a large number of people will begin to die from a lack of food, water, resources. James Woolsey, former CIA Director under President Bill Clinton, warned of the dire consequences of a high altitude EMP attack at that recent Senate hearing: “One estimate is that within a year or so, two-thirds of the U.S. population would die.”
In December, 2014, with a bi-partisan vote, the House of Representatives passed the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) to protect the electric grid. The Senate still needs to approve legislation and the President to sign it. We need to ask our elected representatives, why after 2 Congressional Commissions years ago heard numerous experts make the case for securing the grid, are their recommendations from 2008 still waiting to be adopted?
In 2011, Democratic Congresswoman, Yvette Clark of N.Y. and Trent Franks, Republican of Ohio, co-wrote “Protecting Our Electric Grid” for politico.com. They said “we must act now and decisively. We cannot wait for the clock to run out on such grave threats when they are now predicted by all relevant U.S. agencies.” They went on to write that “with scientists and engineers now advising that the cost and complexity to bring this problem under control is modest, our course is clear. We cannot, and must not leave our nation vulnerable. We must secure our electric infrastructure now.” Those words from 2011 have yet to be heeded.
We can’t afford to wait any longer, or just cross our fingers and hope there won’t be another big solar storm. Experts say they happen about once every 100 years, so we are due. And are you willing to bet the health & well-being of every family in America that a country like Iran, whose leaders shout “Death to America”, won’t ever take advantage of our vulnerable civilian electric grid? Some states like Maine and Virginia are not waiting for the federal government to act. They have already taken steps to secure their grids. So what can you do? Sign the petition which The Good for You Network has created on https://www.change.org/p/tell-congress-to-shield-the-grid-now-all-of-our-lives-depend-on-it. Send it to your Senators, Congressmen, to the President, the Governor of your state and state legislators. Ask 11 or more of your friends & family to do the same.
We had one wake-up call on 9/11 that we cannot ever forget. Let us all make a commitment here and now to do everything we can to prevent the take down of our electric grid and preserve the quality of life that has long made America a beacon of light and hope to a world dearly in need of it. May America’s light always shine bright!