Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Waterfalls, Renewables and Me

Triple Falls, DuPont State Forest
North Carolina
This morning, I have an unusual blog post at ANS Nuclear Cafe, inspired by my recent hiking trip in North Carolina.

In Farmers, City Folk and Renewable Energy, I consider the renewable-advocates idea that we can "get" all the energy we need from sun, wind and water.  No. We can't simply "get" energy from sun, wind and water. We would have to "take" this energy, by industrializing the wilderness.

I compare this idea of "getting" energy with the realities of farming.  City people are sometimes annoyed at that reality, but farms are a sort of factory for food.  A well-tended field is not just scenery: it has had inputs: seeds, fertilizer (organic or not), labor.  With these inputs, the field is expected to produce outputs: food.  Do we want to turn the natural world into a kind of energy farm, as we set ourselves up to "take" the renewables, wherever they may be?  I don't think so.

I write about environmentalism, and letting the rivers be rivers, not hydro plants, and my own history of Sierra Club membership, back in the day when the Club protected the wilderness. Remember the fight against Glen Canyon Dam?  Remember the fights to expand wilderness areas?

So-called "environmental" groups have come a long way in the wrong direction since those days. Now, they try to sell everyone on the absolute necessity of building wind turbines on the ridges of our beautiful mountains. Now, they make fun of people who think hydro power might be limited in Vermont.  Now...well, now, in my opinion, many of their stances are completely anti-environmental.

My ANS post is more personal than usual.  I hope you will read it.

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