environmental irony wind power

Environmental Irony

environmental irony wind powerI have written before about the changing face of environmentalism. A perfect example of a new form of environmental irony played out in Peru.

Greenpeace activists, looking to make their message loud and clear, desecrated an ancient heritage site called the Nazca Lines. The lines have existed in a pristine state since their origin, sometime between 400 and 650 AD.

The Curse of Environmental Irony

No one treads on these lines. Yet, the activists walked on and placed a banner with their message in the name of their cause. Talk about environmental irony.

If one assumes that true environmentalism involves preservation of the Earth, where does violating an irreplaceable and some would say, sacred site fit in? Greenpeace isn’t alone in this blatant example of environmental irony.

It’s evident, ironically enough, within the very cause they seek to promote, renewable energy. First off, I support use of renewable energy and nuclear power. I think huge logistic problems exist with renewables that compromises their wide spread application.

Unintended Consequences

You can’t escape the reality of rare earth acquisition. You’ll find them in hybrid cars, wind turbines, and even your iPhone. However, obtaining them causes catastrophic environmental destruction. Mining produces toxic waste products that persist in the environment. We’re talking some really nasty stuff, like cyanide, arsenic, and mercury.

The great environmental irony lies in the fact that to “solve” one problem [climate change], you have to create another [toxic waste]. The same can be said of solar and wind power, both which cause loss of wildlife. Wasn’t saving wildlife a part of that earlier definition of environmentalism and saving the Earth?

No One Solution

The complexities of environmental issues and their proposed solutions underscores the need for research, discussion, and a break from biases, like confirmation bias and what I call the silver bullet bias. In the latter, one believes that one and only one solution exists for a problem, a lá silver bullet. Would that it were so!

There is no one solution to solve many of our most challenging environmental issues, including climate change. Just as complex are the problems, so too are the solutions. It’s too simplistic to say that the future is renewable. It’s not.

Think for a moment of all the by-products of fossils fuels. If you use nail polish, deodorant, aspirin, or detergent while blasting fossil fuels, you are a hypocrite. It’s like a vegetarian who dislikes the treatment of livestock wearing leather shoes. It’s the plethora of by-products that makes a solution like renewables uninformed. The last thing that the climate change cause now needs is ignorance.

The solutions is solutions, working together and looking out for all of the stakeholders. No one promised an easy fix. But desecrating sacred lands is not part of the mix.

http://exploring.weborglodge.com/By Chris DR

photo credit: whiteafrican via photopin cc

Posted in Environment and tagged .