When things are investigated, knowledge is extended. When knowledge is extended, the will becomes sincere. When the will is sincere, the mind is correct. When the mind is correct, the self is cultivated. -- Confucius
Politically correct ideals are garbage: true wisdom comes from decades of deep thought and neutral observation. Only a so-called sociopath could ascertain wisdom from this crazy world in a neutral way. Cool thoughts- uncorrupted by modern politics, social norms, or societal ideals- are required for wisdom. Questioning everything, and going against the grain on all universally accepted norms is the path to true intelligence. The Gods notice this.

4/19/10

Environmentalists-- Way Off Base

All my life I have loved Nature and had a deep appreciation and respect for the environment. I want people to stop polluting it, reverse global warming, reverse urban sprawl, reforest the entire northern hemisphere, stop fishing and hunting, and live at one with the planet.

So you may presume me to be an "environmentalist". Maybe a True Environmentalist in spirit, but as far as an Official Environmentalist- hell no. They like to spout off what is politically correct with no thought about what reality is. Their actions rarely if ever help the environment, and they are too busy wasting their time harassing innocent victims of their campaigns to pursue much more important things.

What baffles me the most is their opposition to energy- all energy. They oppose virtually every form of energy production there is. Do they want us to camp out on volcano calderas to keep warm, or what?

They oppose offshore oil drilling. They say oil rigs might leak and then kill fish or make them inedible. Oil rigs also look ugly and will potentially hurt tourism. These are really all the reasons I could find. Of the eleven oil rig accidents I could find, there were just 3 incidents ever (Montara, Brazil, and Louisiana) of an oil rig leaking- it is the tanker ships that wreck and leak all the time (at least 90 since 1940). See this list, and this. And if the fish became inedible, then that is a good thing, as it will help solve the overfishing problem. I like the tourism excuse the most: A tourist vacations to a coastal city, and then sees an oil rig in the distance. So he packs up his bags and goes to another coastal city without the ugly rigs in the distance. Yeah, right- I can see that happening. It's about as likely as environmentalists trying to ban oil tankers.

One of the same arguments is used to stop giant windmill generators from being placed in the ocean- people might see them from the shore. Coastal communities have actually taken power companies to court for this reason. Of course the mills can be put on the land, in farmers fields or other desolate places. No one in rural America complains about their appearance (I personally think they are fascinating and could sit and watch one all day). Some detractors scream that these fields of turbines take up thousands of acres. Of course they neglect to mention that farmers can easily work around them, and get huge land use commissions too.  But the environmentalists have a problem with them anyway: a bird might get killed. They make it sound like these mills are gargantuan fans that rotate their blades at fantastic speeds- chopping up any passing birds like so much confetti. Perhaps they have never seen one operate. A bird can run into a blade, but it is rare, very rare. It certainly does not decimate flocks of birds as they can easily fly around/through the blades, or above them. A 500' white object with red flashing lights on it is quite visible to birds. Scary estimates of X-amount of birds being killed by them are unproven suppositions. I live near two large wind farms and have never heard of farmers complaining about thousands, or hundreds, or tens even- of dead birds in their fields.

Hydroelectric dams also get a bad rap. They supposedly wreak destruction on the plants and animals that live in the canyon/valley walls. So why, I wonder, can't the animals move? Migration, survival, relocation...I have a feeling they do move. Other than this I have never heard of a real cause of harm by dams, except for this yarn. It claims the trees killed by the dam flooding release more harmful gases than coal burning. Even if true, how can this one time event possibly equate with the smoke of continuous coal burning? And, how is it worse than the cutting down of that many trees for other purposes anyway? Lastly, it would depend entirely upon how many trees were in a particular dam-valley to start with, so each dam would be very different.

At least 'environmentalists' support solar power. For some reason though, their concept of 'energy independence' doesn't trickle down to them. A rare few people have a solar panel on their house, but at least 99% don't. Considering the fact that solar panels- at least the type that heat water- are cheap and easy to make yourself, then why aren't there environmentalists all over the country putting them atop their roofs, or in their yards? I guess it's too much trouble to get free hot water for the rest of your life for under 50 bucks in parts to make the panel. No, they want it piped in like they are used to- over the grid of electric wires. You can get (more expensive) photovoltaic panels as well, which convert sunlight directly into electricity. But what is with all these people who want large mega-arrays of solar panels sitting outside every city? They keep saying it is not feasible; they can't make enough for the whole city with these panels. Well, then put them on your own houses and businesses, ding-dongs! That would take the load off the main source of power big time. Just remove yourself from the grid as much as possible; don't wait for a sci-fi looking array as big as your city to be built outside your city for you.

They also oppose nuclear power, and that seems obvious. Nuclear power is expensive, and dangerous. But there are two problems with their opposition to it. One, it can be made safe, and two, the alternative is coal. It is dangerous because the plants have antiquated control equipment and neither the govt. nor the power companies feel a need to keep them modernized. It is also dangerous because the toxic waste is presumably hazardous for millions of years. If it is so hazardous, then why not press for hurling it into space? Seriously, the technology exists and has been tested. It can be jettisoned into space via magnetic rails made up a mountainside (kind of like in the movie When Worlds Collide). So instead of all the other b.s., why not pressure the right people to modernize the plants and send the waste to space? It can even be aimed to fall into the sun. One other reason it is dangerous is because a saboteur could cause a meltdown. After 911, people realized pretty quickly that if the pilots of the hijacked planes had half a brain, they would have instead crashed into the Indian Point nuclear power plant, killing many of the 20 million people living next to it, and irradiating the east coast for a few million years or so. But luckily they did not have even half-brains... A reporter later broke into one plant to show how easy it was. France placed anti-aircraft guns around all of their nuclear facilities, permanently. This was several years ago, and the U.S. military has yet to follow suit. So I will add, if the military ever decides to protect them from planes and reporters, then it will be a good energy source if the waste is disposed of properly and the equipment is modernized. So environmentalists- why not concentrate on those key factors instead of bemoaning the same old stuff?

Further, all of the above about nuclear safety is moot anyway if you choose to use thorium reactors. This source of nuclear power is plentiful, cheaper, and produces non-toxic waste. But you can't make nuclear bombs out of it either, so no countries are interested in it. A fascinating documentary about this can be seen here.  Why aren't the environmentalists making noise about this option?

They do support sea wave generators, though these devices are still experimental and in very limited use. Hopefully no one will think of the fact that octopi may attach themselves to them and become dizzy...

So what forms of energy really are bad then? Geothermal tops my list. It is supported by some/opposed by others. It involves drilling into the crust of the earth, and that is risky. This can cause new fault lines and even earthquakes. Then you need electricity to pump the warmth up to your house.  It is also noisy and expensive to set up. In the end it isn't much cheaper and only lasts 5-10 years per location anyway.

I also oppose use of coal. It is dirty, and those giant smokestacks you see on power plants have huge filters in them. The filters cost money, so power companies don't like to replace them as often as they should. Coal pollutes the air very badly, not to mention the CO2 emissions which contribute greatly to global warming. If only we could get them to buy the damned filters/scrubbers, but it's been an ongoing battle...

Charcoal heat and cooking is even worse, as it releases the same pollutants- yet does not have filters at all. Millions of people in third world countries use this, and they desperately need a cleaner form of heat and cooking energy. See this doc. at :52 min.

Extracting oil from tar sands in Canada also seems to be genuinely dirty, through the entire process. A lot of people do not realize that the Chinese are buying up much of it and it is doubtful they bought it to swim in. With their cheaper labor and state-owned equipment, they can extract it much cheaper than other countries can. They surely will when oil prices rise again someday. This will exacerbate the numerous pollution issues.

I am not one to criticize without offering solutions of my own. The answers are fairly simple- if only the bureaucracy and the oil cartel would allow it.

This country needs to install a sea of wind generators in a large swath across the midwest, from Texas to Canada, and also in a line from Wyoming to Indiana, as well as in the oceans off the Southwest coast and the Northeast coast. This alone would create all the energy we need. But we should also have at least two solar panels on every home in the country- one for water heating and one for electricity generation. All rural homes should also have a small windmill. All industrial facilities and large businesses, including office towers, should also have a medium to large sized windmill to make up for the extra energy they use. These new types are ideal for city use.

Instead of the govt. subsidizing oil and coal companies, they should subsidize free bicycles, and large rebates on mopeds and motorcycles.

Patents on energy efficient devices that the oil companies have bought up need to be confiscated by a federal court and released to the public. Mass transport systems need to be built that are more efficient, cheaper, and safer. Incandescent bulbs should be banned with a phase-out law and replaced with fluorescent and LED. The ban on Tesla technology should also be lifted. The question is, why was a scientist's proof of free energy from the skies banned? It can't hurt to look.

These are the things environmentalists need to be concerning themselves with, not their misguided, pointless, and inaccurate efforts to shut down everything that may help people.


(c) james platt 

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