Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Las Vegas shouldn’t exist

Every day I see and hear people talking about the environment and how our society is failing to address important issues. 

Let’s look at Las Vegas, one of the most popular tourist destinations in America. 

Las Vegas is a city in the middle of a desert. No one with any sense would have considered building a house, let alone a city, in the middle of the Nevada desert in the 19th century.

Las Vegas strip at night

Yet in the 20th century, a group of mobsters needed a way to launder their illegal gains, and gambling, already a popular addiction, was an easy way. All they needed was a friendly legislature and a sufficiently remote location that law enforcement was unlikely to bother them. 

Once Nevada realized the potential income from gambling and the mob, they were all in. In fact, brothels became legal as well. Las Vegas became a one-stop-shop for nearly all human vices.

These days Las Vegas is home to another American addiction, electric lights. Every day the Las Vegas strip consumes enough electricity to power a small town for a month. According to Utility Smarts, the Strip uses approximately 8000 megawatts of power every day. The MGM hotel alone spends $100,000 a month on electricity.

It’s not just the lights. Homes have been built around Las Vegas, and because it’s a desert community, air conditioning costs nearly equal the cost of lighting. 

On the face of it, Las Vegas shouldn’t exist. It’s a city built in an inhospitable desert by criminals exploiting human weaknesses to garner millions of dollars a day and demanding more power from the grid than can be justified.

And none of this occurs in secret or dark alleys. We all know about it. It’s legal while at the same time being frequently called immoral. The power and water wasted to support this can’t be justified as a social necessity. 

So while the West fights water wars, Las Vegas tourists and residents enjoy fountains and golf courses. While major cities suffer power outages, Las Vegas produces enough light to be visible from space day and night. While politicians lament the decline in morality, they thank god for the money that taxes and gambling provide the local economy. 

Las Vegas exposes the hypocrisy of Americans when it comes to the climate and social issues. We aren’t serious about changing our ways, not as long as there’s profit to be made.

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