138 THE CLASS STRUGGLE eyes. Here is one opportunity to save for the public one of our extensive and precious resources in wartime.
One single example among thousands illustrates what the fuel shortage has meant to city workers. In January, 1918, a visiting nurse in New York City, was called into a tenement home to try to save the life of a little child that appeared to be dying of cold in its crib. After days of efiort, the little patient life was safe. But, meanwhile, the nurse was present when the child father was brought home, having died of exhaustion and cold in the zero weather, while seeking from place to place for coal wherewith to keep his baby warm This occurred in the richest city, of the richest nation on the planet, in the country rnost lavishly endowed with coal deposits and with flowing water. It occurred primarily because we have always wasted, and are now more profligately than ever wasting our coal and our water. People suffered and died in New York City in January, 1918, for want of coal for heating, which was blocked on railroad tracks, by trains of coal intended for generating power at the place where used.
It is one of the objects of this paper to suggest from the point of view of the workers as consumers. a. The desirability of using our water ower in every possible way to eke out our coal supply, in order that our people may not sufier avoidable hardship; The desirability of establishing a unified federal system for distributing power both from our water sources and from the mouth of the mine, in order that, we may avoid such chaos and losses, as we have snfiered under the competitive management of the railroads and mines; The need of an immediate oificial study of the relation of our coal and our water resources, similar to the study of Er sgland coal resources recently issued by the Sub Committee of the Munitions Committee of the English Parliament of which Lord Haldane was chairman and signed the report.
CHANGING LABOR CONDITIONS I39 The third proposal is especially urgent because we have as yet no means of forming an enlightened and compelling popu lar opinion.
The American people have, at the present moment, no readily accessible fund of popular knowledge as to the location of the coal area in relation to potential sources of water power.
We need facts on such essential points as these geographical relations, and as the possible use of navigable rivers for waterways and for sources of power (as the Rhine is used at Rheinfelden. The public cannot get by volunteer surveys authcn.
tic information of the possibilities of nation wide flood regulation in connection with power generation; or of the possible use of coal to eke out irregularities of flow or drought.
For want of needed facts on these and other elements of the problem of transmitting power without the use of coal cars, the public mind is easily befogged by the threat that the beauty of whole great regions of scenery which is now a precious part of the national treasure may be destroyed in the process of impounding water for power generation. So much prejudice can be created by these threats as greatly to delay that prompt action which is now more urgently needed than ever before.
We have no trustworthy data readily accessible as to the length of possible transmission of power, the estimated unavoidable loss and waste in transmission, or the cost of copper for wire compared with the cost of wages, trackage, cars, and motive power for the conveyance of coal by railways.
For dwellers on the Atlantic seaboard and in the northern part of the Mississippi Valley during the present winter, it is needless to dwell on the disadvantages of our present methods of dealing with coal, and wasting water power. Life, limbs, health, industrial productivity, and in some measure the effectiveness of the national efiort for the war, have all been in varying degree sacrificed to deferred treatment of our native resources of heat and power yielding agencies.