It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Long Now

The Long Now is a very impressive site which has been up for years apparently. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Of course since Stewart Brand is one of my main intellectual influences it's little surprise I'd like his organization's blog. I'm just sorry I've missed it for so long.

Anyway, Alexander Rose hits the nail on the head with yesterday's entry "Engineers vs. Druids".
We have seen this now playing out all over the world where the “druids” have come out against many low-to-no carbon methods of generating power (wind, hydro, nuclear and in some cases solar all fit this bill). What is often missing from these arguments are the larger contexts that now global warming is forcing upon us. We see opposition of wind farms world wide due to ‘unsightliness’ or because they may kill several hundred birds per year (However it is estimated that there are 32,000 air quality related deaths each year in the US, and hundreds of thousands world wide due to coal burning alone).

It seems that while we argue over how pretty a wind mill is, the earth’s climate continues to change. And soon the New England beach homes whose views may be adulterated by the windmills will be underwater.


Bruno said...

An example of this in my neck of the woods is the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound. It would provide 75% of Cape Cod's electricity and get federal approval at every step --- yet there are all manner of backroom shenanigans going on to torpedo the project. Mitt Romney and Ted Kennedy, who usually can't even agree on what day of the week it is, are both against Cape Wind. At least Teddy has an excuse, there is a significant risk that he may crash his yacht into one of the things while he's busy belowdeck mixing cocktails.

Dano said...

Yes, having a mindset with no compromise is tough. IMHO, this mindset is about 150 years too late. I admire the "druids'" dedication and perserverance though.

Druids of the 'no bird cuisinarts' or 'no GMO genetic pollution' variety, rather than 'no interruption of my second homes' view' or 'no impact on my property values' type.

We have greatly impacted most of the global ecosystems. The key is to maintain many of their systems' resilience, not return them to pre-Industrial settings.



inel said...

Bore da!
(Good morning! from a land of the druids …)
In my home patch, we have our own age-old example of 'engineers vs. local, determined environmental campaigners'. The contest appears in the form of a proposal for a Severn barrage. Here's the latest news, hot off the press, which further illustrates your point:

The mouthpiece that bit back

Fresh from talks with Ban-ki Moon in New York on cutting emissions, Hilary Benn is minded to endorse the £15bn Severn barrage tidal power plan.

Fears for wildlife as minister welcomes 'visionary' plans for for £15bn Severn dam

For more than 150 years, engineers have toyed with the idea of constructing a dam across the width of the Bristol Channel.

Not only am I in favour of a barrage to harness tidal power, but I would be quite happy to see wind turbines (horizontal or vertical design) installed on rooftops alongside solar panels if there were an effective way of using micro-generation to supplement other renewable energy supplies.

Compromise, tolerance and collaboration are needed in full quota to crack this climate challenge.

James Aach said...

You might find book "Rad Decision" on energy issues and endorsed by Stewart Brand to of interest (and entertaining):

"I'd like to see Rad Decision widely read." - Stewart Brand, noted futurist and founder of "The Whole Earth Catalog."