Thursday, March 8, 2012

Frustrations of the can-do generation

This article was a nice find.  It's always wonderful to find a kindred spirit.  Note that Mr. Freeman is 86—this makes him about 24 years older than I.  The reason I find this interesting is that when I wrote Elegant Technology, I figured it would require 50 years to transition from a fire-based economy to a solar / renewable one.  Freeman thinks we could do it in 25.  Yes, well his generation got things done quicker and I have spent my whole life wondering about the nuances for why this is so.

“Ask your children – what would you choose – a bunch of solar panels or a radioactive factory?”
How to Phase Out Nuclear, Coal and Oil in 25 Years

We can phase out the three poisons – nuclear, coal and oil – in twenty-five years.

And replace them with solar, wind and energy efficiency.

The science and technology say yes.

It’s now only about politics.

Or as S. David Freeman puts it – about values.

Freeman is the former chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority, where he shut down eight nuclear power plants.

Five years ago, Freeman wrote a book titled Winning Our Energy Independence.

Five years later, we aren’t much closer to that goal.

Why not?

One reason – the failed environmental movement.

“The so called environmental movement has lost its voice,” Freeman told Corporate Crime Reporter last week. “It doesn’t speak up anymore.”

You mean they’ve been gagged by the likes of Chesapeake Energy, which we just recently learned donated $26 million to Sierra Club?

“To me it’s not crucial whether it is a crime or cowardice,” Freeman says. “The end result is that the environmental movement died and didn’t have a funeral. Whether they were bought, or whether it’s tired blood. For my purposes, I don’t need to decide whether the Sierra Club is corrupt, or that NRDC has sold out. I’m looking at the fact that they are not speaking up.”

“And of course, it’s hard to blame the environmental groups when you have a Democratic President that mouths, word for word, the same thing I see on the gas company ads on television.”

Are you proposing a funeral for the environmental movement?

“I don’t know that they deserve one,” Freeman says.

“I’m hoping that there is a whole new breed of young activists, the folks that don’t even know about nuclear power. They’ve gotten onto the fracking issue, and gotten hold of the tail on the tar sands dog.”

“The Occupy Wall Street crowd – those are the people who provide an 86-year-old guy like me with hope. But the so called environmental movement – it’s just tired blood, hardening of the arteries, tunnel vision, and wanting to keep their jobs.”“I was present at the creation. I was working for Richard Nixon and John Ehrlichman. We put all of these environmental laws on the books. And if you look at the environmental messages Nixon sent up in 1970 and 1971, they make the Sierra Club today look like a middle of the roader.” more

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