The correct solution to the oil problem, according to the Puritans, is to have fewer humans. Now, I haven't noticed them volunteering to lessen the population starting with themselves; nor have I seen their heroes bicycling everywhere (environmental ayatollah Al Gore's plane being a legendary instance).
But they do systematically resist every solution that doesn't involve wrecking the American economy and destroying the American way of life.
No insecticides! But also no genetically altered crops with enhanced resistance to insects and disease!
No coal-fired power plants! But also no clean nuclear plants! (Even though France has proven that standardized nuclear power is safe and relatively cheap.)
Yes, you can build windmill farms -- but you can't put them anywhere.
Solar collectors? Excellent -- but don't put them anywhere, either, because they interfere with the natural ecology -- even in the barest desert. (God forbid that lizards should have more shade.)
Collect solar power in space and beam it to Earth? Fine -- except that you are forbidden to actually receive the power anywhere because it's too dangerous.
Hydroelectric power? Great idea -- except that you can't build a dam anywhere because it transforms a surface environment to an underwater one, which, naturally, annoys the squirrels. Squirrels, being natural nonsinners, take precedence over evil, sinful humans, the only animal that is forbidden to act according to its nature.
Electric cars and public transportation? Great idea -- but not until after we've converted all power plants to non-carbon-emitting fuels. (Never mind that it can only ever happen the other way, converting to electric cars immediately, so they're already in place when the oil runs out or, as I hope, we stop buying it because we've met the need in other ways.)
It's so Calvinist, so Jonathan Edwards. To the environmentalists, the only reason we aren't a spider suspended by God's will over the fires of hell is that spiders are natural and don't deserve to be punished.
We have to do something -- the Environmentalists are right about that. But they are so puritan that there isn't actually anything that you are allowed to do because all the solutions are also sinful.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Alternative Energy Sources
From Orson Scott Card: