Concrete and steel are two of those immutable things. They make up the foundation of modern life, the things that give shape to seemingly every structure around us.
Which is, in part, why I am absolutely addicted to power plant implosion and demolition videos. Seeing smokestacks and cooling towers meant to stand the test of time being brought down with a few well-placed explosives is a spectacle. There’s tension in these videos, the flash of lights followed by a delayed thud as sound catches up to sight. Then there are a precarious few seconds that feel like an eternity where the seemingly refuses to succumb to its inevitable fate. Were the explosives properly placed to knock out the structural supports? Was the timing right?
Inevitably, those questions are answered with a resounding roar as concrete collapses, its formerly rigid form breaking apart. The towers fall like a shirt or pair of pants casually tossed on the bed. Permanence is undone.
These implosions are, in some ways, a metaphor for the end of fossil fuels as a whole. That a few well-placed metaphorical explosives can bring the industry responsible for damaging the planet fall in on itself. The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, for example, has helped lead to the retirement or proposed retirement of 348 coal plants in the U.S. Yet the implosions are also a reminder that people working in the industry will need help.
I invite you to consider these points and what a future without fossil fuels could look like. But also just gaze in awe at these implosions because, look, they’re really cool. They’re certainly more fun to watch than the Lions-Bears game.