A subject sure to inflame passions just as much as politics or religion these days. In some ways, however, it is intertwined with both, because, for some, the Environment is a religion...
The left wants to rid us of fossil fuels, nuclear power, and any other form of energy that they don't deem as being "green". The right wants oil independence, developing energy sources within this country, because that will create jobs, grow the economy, and reduce costs of everything. It will bring prosperity to more people, and more prosperity is a good thing.
So, the left cries "No! We must think of the environment" Oil is bad, it spills, in contaminates, it fouls the air we breathe. Spent nuclear fuel can poison a large area for generations. Coal poisons the air we breathe.... and it goes on, and on.
The right cries "Yes!" We must think of future generations, and our own independence, we must provide a stable, secure nation for our children to grow up in". Oil is good, we have invented many things that use oil, and the derivatives we gain from refining it, it is efficient, and readily available. Coal is abundant, it is also efficient at producing electricity, and we need cheap electricity. Spent nuclear fuel can be safely stored for generations, where, if properly done is poses little or no risk......
And the argument goes on.
Both sides, in their own minds, are right about this. Both sides deem their desires rational, by the standards they set for themselves.
Let's take another look at things.... from a "common sense" standpoint. From the view of a regular American guy, with a family, who is smart enough to understand a few things.
The Left wants solar, wind, and bio fuels. The Right wants oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. The left wants fuel efficient hybrid cars, perhaps, mandated by the government. The Right also wants fuel efficient cars, and they also want to leave the choice of what we drive up to us.
Reduce, Recylce, Reuse... make "Gaia" happy. Please Mother Earth.
In the Bible, God gave man dominion over the earth, and all of its creatures, plants, and birds of the air. (See Genesis 1) But he also commanded man to be a "good steward" of the earth, and to take care of it.
So, in all of this rancor surrounding the "environment" I decided I would ask some questions, and try and find the answers, and see what kind of energy makes sense for the planet.
On a recent road trip to go photograph trains with my kids, we were driving west on I-88 on our way to a town called Rochelle, IL. Along the way, I happened to notice a wind turbine farm had sprouted up, since I was last out that way (about 4 years ago). I had never seen a wind turbine outside of photos, so I was impressed with the size. The wind farm itself, had a surreal look about it. It was odd to see so many huge three-bladed propellers (or would they be "impellers" since the wind drives them, and not the other way around?) so high above the ground. The wind farm stretched as far as the eye could see. My kids (10 and 11) began to ask questiosn about how they work, how much electrcity they produce, and etc. Which got me to thinking. How much do they produce, and how efficient is it? In addition to that, I couldn't help but notice that the wind farm took an awful lot of farm land out of commission. I could see the old barns and silos, on what had obviously been a farm, prior to becoming what it is now. That got me wondering about land use, and the effect large numbers of these wind farms could have on farm productivity.... So, I when I got home I cracked open the laptop, and began looking.
After reading various web pages, and blogs, as well as forums and such. I came away from the whole thing, thinking that there isn't much in the way of rational thinking when it comes to the energy debate, especially from the Left.
As a "regular guy" who, like millions of others, works, and raises a family, I want, and need energy prices to be affordable. What are we supposed to do? Operate like Pakistan where they practice "Load shedding"? "Load Shedding" is a practice where power is turned off to large portions of various cities, to insure enough electricity for is available for "vital" functions. This is usually done for 8-12 hours a day, and its "rolling" so the same place isn't affected every day. If this nation goes down the path of relying solely on "renewable" energy, and continues the shuttering of coal fired power plants, that is where we will be. Of course, I am sure the Washington, and Hollywood "elites" wouldn't have to suffer through such a thing, should that come to pass.
The simple truth is: What we have now, works. You want your renewable energy? Fine. From a common sense standpoint, it would assist in making our current resources last longer. But, don't try and force it on the rest of us as a "solution" for something that isn't broken. If an individual feels the need to go "all solar" for their home, then, more power to them, so long as they foot the bill. (Currently, a solar panel large enough to generate enough power to run everything in an average home runs about 16,000.00 for a 285 square foot panel)
So far, all I have seen from the left, and from the President, are hugely expensive, fantasy-type solutions, that are simply going to cost the average citizen more money. It's not a "solution" at least, not from a common sense, practical, and economical standpoint.
Cross posted to WordPress.