Boilers and Greasy Smiles

One of my favorite movies is The Preacher’s Wife with Whitney Houston, Denzel Washington, and Courtney B. Vance. If you’re unfamiliar with the plot, it’s the story of Rev. Henry Biggs and Mrs. Julia Biggs (Vance and Houston) and how a prayer request from Rev. Biggs was answered by the angel Dudley (Washington). Rev. Biggs is the minister of St. Matthews Church; which was headed by Mrs. Biggs late father. The neighborhood surrounding St. Matthews is falling apart and a wealthy developer Joe Hamilton (Gregory Hines) has the solution! His vision for the new St. Matthews includes fancy lighting, a new sanctuary, video equipment, a daycare center, senior center, and tennis courts; moving them into the new future!

Poor Rev. Biggs is torn between rebuilding the church with limited funds and succumbing to the pressure of Joe Hamilton; who even schmoozed with the deacon board behind Rev. Biggs’ back! Not to mention Dudley is still around trying to help Rev. Biggs see the treasure he has within St. Matthews and his family. Well, desperate and discouraged after the church’s boiler exploded (keep in mind it’s the dead of winter) Rev. Bigg’s accepts Joe’s offer. To seal the deal Joe buys Rev. Biggs a new boiler. Excited about he’s just done Rev. Biggs meets his wife Julia for lunch to tell her the good news! He raves about the new church showing her the layout of the future building. She tosses the papers back to him, “The man is building a shrine to himself!” Unmoved by her statement he excitedly tells her about the new boiler to which she explodes, “Henry, he bought you for a boiler?”

Want to know what happens after that? Watch the movie.

How does this relate to environmental issues? Developers, miners, and other corporations buy “boilers” all the time to seal the deal on a project that they believe is greater, better, and profitable. I remember years ago in Fayetteville a company bought the land and house from a man and built shopping centers. They paid him a LARGE amount of money! Was it a good move? Yes, at the time Fayetteville didn’t have a Best Buy, Target, Buffalo Wild Wings, and a host of other stores in that section of town. Sadly, this isn’t always the case.

The harsh reality is that that there are crooks in the world that will come with their “boilers,” and blue prints; showing of the FUTURE! What they haven’t done is a complete analysis; they’ve only done a financial. They’ve crunched the numbers and know their new buildings, factories, or mines will bring the big bucks. Nothing wrong with bringing in the big bucks, however, the aftershocks need to be considered.

Let’s refer back to the movie. The church Joe Hamilton wanted to build was magnificent. It would have been an iconic fixture in the community; a community that ranged from middle class to very low income. Joe’s church was going to include:
– Tennis courts
– Sanctuary and other rooms in the church
– Brand new sound system
– Child care center
– Senior center

All of the above comes with the cost of equipment, utilities, maintenance, and employees. Could the community afford that? NO! They would have been indebted to Joe Hamilton for years and probably would’ve filed for bankruptcy. With that being stated before the Joe Hamilton’s come in with their seemingly bright ideas they and the communities they’re soliciting to need to take into full consideration how everyone will be affected. Finances must be considered along with environmental consequences.

There are a few Joe Hamilton’s running amuck in Virginia and North Carolina (other states as well). They’re flashing their greasy smiles and whipping out their check books! They’re going to move us into the future! Take for example the Joe Hamilton’s who want to mine for uranium in Virginia. They are projecting to bring in several jobs to the rural area of VA! Who is going to fill these highly skilled technical jobs? Not to say the people of this area are not educated, but are they qualified to work the higher paying jobs? Or will the mining company reassign their employees in other states and bring them to Virginia? I believe they will reassign employees.

They also say the mining of uranium is going to bring money to the area. The area that the mine is located in already brings in money from tourism. The lakes surrounding the area are absolutely gorgeous! Water enthusiast from all over the world come to the area to fish, yacht, jet -ski, and relax. Knowing this information why in the blue hell would anyone say, “Sure, come mine uranium!”? Who is going to reap the benefits of uranium mining? You damn skippy it won’t be the people who are responsible for running the lodges and marinas those water enthusiasts love to visit. Those businesses will sink faster than the Titanic. All of the money those businesses have pulled in for the state of Virginia and for their own livelihoods will be gone with the wind.

Stop and think rationally. The Virginia climate cannot handle the mining of uranium. Who will benefit from the mining? Who will be harmed from the mining? Who is going to pay for the construction of the mine? Who will pay for the mistakes of the mining company? Look at the BP oil spill. They can’t figure out how to stop the oil from pouring out. Do you honestly think they can get uranium out of the rivers if an accident were to happen? Don’t even open your mouth and say, “yes,” because you know that will be a damn lie. (yeah I said it)

If the powers that be would stop being so greedy and ignorant they would realize there are safer alternatives for energy. There is no need for uranium to be mined. I do not believe that people who are in favor for the mining of uranium in Virginia are complete idiots. I believe they, like Rev. Biggs, received a “boiler.” Maybe they got a few extra bucks in their bank account or a promise to be reelected (regardless of what the polls show). It is difficult to find your backbone when your chances of being reelected are slim to none. It is difficult to find your backbone when your bank account is dry as a bone and business is a little sluggish. It is difficult to find your real backbone when you’ve become accustom to your pseudo backbone made of hush money. To anyone who has the power to say, “yay” or “nay” to the mining of uranium I say to you the same statement Rev. Biggs said to Joe Hamilton when he was first presented with the idea of moving into the future:



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