FAQ: Green Civil War: Projects vs. Preservation

Environmentalists are more openly at odds over two goals: the preservation of wide open spaces vs. the use of public lands for renewable energy projects.

via Green Civil War: Projects vs. Preservation – Room for Debate Blog – NYTimes.com.

This is a question that gets asked a lot, so it is refreshing to see different perspectives on how to manage needs for more clean energy with the desire to preserve pristine land. Of course, given the diversity of opinions offered, some are better than others. I, for one, don’t see this as a dichotomy, so I prefer ideas that avoid the binary choice frame of the question and suggest real solutions that will try to optimize both “choices”.

I liked David Roberts’ and Ileene Anderson’s opinions quite a bit, plugging for getting away from the large scale, utility centric model to a distributed paradigm. Daniel Kammen pitches for aggressive efficiency measures. Vaclav Smil says “Use less”, amen! Randy Udall deals mostly in cliches and says nothing very meaningful other than “we should optimize” and “some people will always complain”. Winona LaDuke makes a very important point that this is a good opportunity for Native Americans shut out of the conventional energy process to be involved in the wise stewardship of wind and solar energy. She does not provide any policy suggestions to make it happen.

Anyway, it looks like most of the panelists chosen avoided the binarification of the problem, good job! Will preserve this for a link every time someone asks me about this.

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