Friday, May 13, 2005

Let's Be Reasonable

David Suzuki responds to criticisms of an earlier essay in which he extolled the value of wind power, noting
Wind energy is an important part of a clean, renewable energy system that we need to develop if we want to reduce air pollution and climate change and improve our quality of life. It's just one part of a variety of innovative ways Canada can become more efficient and ultimately more competitive in the 21st century.

But wind farms, like any development, need to be sited properly and appropriately. Environmental assessments must be conducted and wind farms placed in areas where they can have the greatest positive effect with the smallest environmental footprint. After all, the whole point of clean energy is to reduce our environmental burden, not make it worse.
The criticism Suzuki received seems indicative of an "all or nothing" mentality that tends to invade these issues: either wind power is a clean "silver bullet" that will solve all of our woes, or it's an environmental blight that chops up birds and bats. Those of us in the environmentalist/sustainability communities bear some responsibility for this problem; at the same time, our opponents seem all too willing to characterize us as ideologues blinded to reason no matter which position we offer. I'd argue that most proponents of renewable energy take positions much like Suzuki's, but these pleas for reasonable debate seem to get lost in all the shouting...

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