Several years ago, when my husband and I were teaching a weekly Saturday-morning class for abused, poverty-level women at a local shelter, we learned that all of them had rock-bottom credit scores. None of them could engage in any financial transaction—like renting an apartment or opening a charge card—that required a good credit rating. We knew that all of them had been born into extreme poverty. None of them knew anyone, in their extended families, who had ever been married. Most had experienced 3 generations of living on welfare, in single-parent households. But why did none of them have good credit?
We learned that none of the women themselves had done anything to harm their credit. Instead, when they were only babies, each of their poverty-ridden mothers— whose credit had long ago been destroyed—applied for social-security cards in their babies’ names. Next their mothers used these social-security cards to apply for credit cards in their babies’ names. Only months later, by the time each of these women was only a toddler, her credit was ruined. Facing hardships of their own, the destitute mothers of these abused women had taken away their children’s hopes for a secure financial future. From their earliest ages, these abused women knew that, no matter how hard they worked, no matter how long they studied, no matter how honest they were, their undeserved credit scores would haunt them. Even a sophisticated lawyer would need years to demolish the mountain of debts that the mothers of these women had dumped on them. The tragedy is not only that their own mothers betrayed these abused women when they were only babies, but also that these mothers destroyed the financial futures of their own children.
If the preceding chapters of this book are correct, unchecked climate change and nuclear expansion will destroy the future of our children. Like the abused women who now bear their mothers’ debts, our children and their children’s children will bear the irrevocable effects of this generation’s climate-change debts. Because those debts will foreclose their futures, we must avert that foreclosure.
One way to do so is to discover and correct false beliefs and erring public policies about both climate change (CC) and nuclear power. This book has argued that many widely held beliefs about nuclear power are false. One of the most common is that atomic energy is emissions free and thus can provide major help to address CC.