Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Chicxulub Crater

The dinosaurs watched the dim skies overhead as they waited in line to be admitted to the hall for the upcoming debate. The overcast sky was the yellow, sickly color of a dead pond. Each wore an electric pump attached to hoses and a mask, which cleaned the air. It was recommended by doctors across the land to reduce the levels of respiratory cancer, even during the few days when dinosaurs could go outside without the threat of acid rain.

As each dinosaur was admitted to the hall, they checked their electric breathing apparatus and shuffled into the dimmed auditorium, where the opponents had taken the stage. Vrex, the spokesdinosaur for United Coal, was responding to a challenge by Mulondis, an activist who proposed that United Coal's massive power plants be shut down in favor of cleaner nuclear power.

"The powerful beams of the Sun have encountered a more powerful force - the great clouds of smog produced by United Coal! No longer are we warmed by its light, and what does strike the surface scarcely inspires photosynthesis in all but the hardiest plants! Our ferns and cycads and flowers wither beneath the choking yellow blanket!" Mulondis yelled.

"The Sun is a fickle mistress," Vrex said, "and we often face cloudy days. If the Sun cannot fill our needs, then so be it! We will grow our food beneath lamps, powered by the very coal power plants that you so decry!"

"What has doomed us will never save us!" replied Mulondis. "Our only hope is to disband United Coal and look to the future of clean energy: nuclear!"

"My opponent does not tell you," Vrex said, a sly grin on his face, "that nuclear power isn't clean at all! It generates a radioactive waste in a thick, toxic sludge that must be stored in great steel and concrete containers!"

"And that sludge can be driven deep below the surface of the Earth, buried beneath our feet while we bathe with our families in the Sun!" Mulondis said.

With that blow, the hoots of the dinosaurs in the audience reached a crescendo, a triumphant blast for nuclear power but which was the funeral dirge for United Coal.

One year later, to the day, Mulondis stood before a ribbon stretched across the entrance to a field of nuclear power plants, already steaming away and sending power to the north into the great cities on the Northern Twin continent. The Sun shone brightly overhead, as the coal plants had been shut down months ago as the nuclear plants came online.

"And here we stand on the southern coast of this great country, and we stand on the edge of a revolution! A revolution of electrical power, yes, but also of social power, for we have unshackled ourselves from the carriage of United Coal, and instead bring clean power to every dinosaur, everywhere!"

The crowd yelled and waved feet, necks, tails and fins.

Mulondis reached down with his sharp teeth and bit the ribbon in half.

"Let us herald a new world!"

The news of the nuclear plants died down almost immediately, as sharp-eyed dinosaur astronomers noticed an asteroid hurtling towards Earth. Pundits began to bang their lecterns with their claws and stamp their stages with their feet.

"We must prepare! This meteor will knock out the power grid, including the new nuclear plants! We're all only two meals away from complete chaos and cannibalism!"

Other pundits disagreed. "No, the meteor is smaller than it appears. Look to the data!"

Two days later, the bolide struck the earth with such force that the peninsula containing the nuclear plants was destroyed on impact. The event ejected rock and debris so far into the atmosphere that the detritus became meteorites of their own on the return trip. Tsunamis washed away coastal cities or left them flooded and uninhabitable by all but the most vicious amphibians. The Sun was again occluded and the acid rains returned.

The dinosaurs survived the impact. What they didn't survive was the dinosaur warlords who seized the nuclear weapons that were created as a byproduct of the nuclear research and who used them on each other.

The Moral: don't put all of your nuclear reactors in one crater.

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