Message no. 786[Branch from no. 773] Posted by Thomas Culhane (1311520071) on Monday, April 9, 2007 6:24pm Subject: Re: chapter 7 Adrienne
Sobering, somber stuff indeed, Adrienne, and you did a great job of capturing the feeling of the chapter and its content and the stress it causes just to think about these things, much less actually have to live through them!
I am still haunted by the statement I read somewhere that "Pollution is somebody else's Profit". I am still not convinced that technology MUST come with the potential for disaster. If you watch the film "Who Killed the Electric Car"
and read the books "The Forbidden Fuel" by Scott Sklar
and "Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives" by Edwin Black
you will see that cars NEVER had to cause environmental problems. It wasn't the car that caused the problems -- it was the FUEL that was chosen for us to run the cars to make somebody else a big fat profit.
The same is true for electric power generation. You NEVER should have had to go through that Chernobyl inspired anxiety Adrienne -- for we have NEVER needed nuclear power. In fact nuclear power was never economically feasible, let alone technically. No private investor has ever invested in nuclear power because there is no return on investment. Atomic power plants were built using government funds to reward certain contractors and to increase the amount of nuclear material we have for our nuclear arsenal and so that politicians can play power games. Mubarak, for example, wants Egypt to go nuclear, not because it makes economic sense or because the power is needed (Egypt can produce more power from wind and solar more cost effectively) but because by "Joining the nuclear club" he feels Egypt will "finally be respected".
It is a male ego game. In fact, atomic power is the most dangerous way to boil water ever invented. And that is all it is -- a giant disastrous steam kettle!
You can learn more about it here from Amory Lovins himself (energy advisor to the Carter Administration):
and view the video interview with Charlie Rose here:
In essence what you learn from Dr. Lovins and Charlie Rose is that there has never been a need for disaster prone technologies! We could have taken the "soft path" a long time ago, and our lifestyles quality would have been EVEN HIGHER!!
Such a waste! I cry for all the ruined lives because we allowed certain corporations and politicians to steer us down the wrong path.
Even plastics could have been benign! The first plastics were made from plant materials and were biodegradeable. Ford even built a car body out of plastics made from Soy Beans!
Now we are struggling to reinvent safe plastics. If we hadn't turned to oil as our primary feedstock we would have been using "green technology" for the past 100 years now.
Don't let anybody ever tell you that disasters or harm are necessary by-products of technology! We can have our plastics and our power plants without harming anybody anywhere!
The solution is to always apply "the precautionary principle" to each discovery we make before we commercialize the technology. We can always find a safe way to do things if we don't rush things to market before we have assessed the dangers and looked at the alternatives.
Of course, I don't mind rushing inventions like Silly Putty to the market -- I loved using silly putty as a kid!!
Thanks for a great post!