Note: This is a short excerpt from a 412 page book (Look for Our Mother and Our Father) which covers many topics other than energy and which gives considerable context to this passage. Reprinted here with permission:
“Going green” is one of the latest marketing tools companies are using to increase profits. Sadly, going green isn’t a way to save the planet; it’s just another marketing tool for exploiting it. This catch phrase is used by corporations pedaling everything from natural gas to household chemicals. It’s a meaningless label, meant to make a product more attractive to PEOCs [people of our culture] who want to tell themselves they are helping to save the planet while they continue to be as self-indulgent as ever. It’s patently ridiculous to think anything involving mass production can be green, but that doesn’t in the least deter PEOCs.
The greenies promote what they call sustainable energies, which science says can save the planet. Since their sustainable energy sources damage the Earth and harm her children, just as traditional energy sources do, it is clear that scientists and greenies promote harm to the planet. (Just for starters, manufacturing all the windmills and solar panels involves destruction, and, moreover, the Earth has to make way for the placement of the panels and windmills.)
When fossil fuels began to be used, scientists (and PEOCs in general) knew their use involved destruction of the Earth, but they didn’t care, nor did they foresee the extent of the damage (which they still don’t and culturally can’t understand). But, the point is, they knew they were harming; they knew they were destroying. It is the same with what greenies call “renewable” energy. These sources still harm the Earth, and scientists and PEOCs know they harm the Earth – but they don’t care, nor foresee the extent of the damage…
If PEOCs stopped everything they are doing with traditional energy sources and switched to what science calls a sustainable lifestyle within the next six months, it wouldn’t solve our problems. Everyone would learn, once again, that there were unforeseen consequences to the technology; that the technology hadn’t quite solved our problems as intended; that the scientists had oversold the cure.
The sustainables tell themselves that this damage doesn’t count, this damage is insignificant, but that doesn’t make it true . I am as unimpressed as folks like George W. Bush with their facts – but I’m unimpressed because I do care about the Earth – and they are unimpressed because, like the sustainables, they do not. Both the “traditionals” and the “sustainables” believe some damage and destruction are acceptable.
Dams were once thought to be a means of providing clean energy. This fantasy, too, was based on the mentality that some destruction is a-okay and that it is acceptable to completely disregard the plants and animals and waters whose lives will be destroyed in our insane quest for more energy. But it turned out that dams aren’t a clean and green energy source at all.
There actually is no clean, renewable, sustainable source of energy, as we use it. In fact, I guarantee you that the scientists who are pushing alternative, sustainable energies already see, in an admittedly very limited way, some negative effects of these energy systems, but they’re willing to overlook them.
Beyond that, the things we power with all of these energies also cause harm. Finding an alternative source of energy to power these things isn’t going to solve that problem. For example, systematically growing and annihilating plants to power our cars isn’t going to eliminate the need for roadways, Freon, and toxic tires. Powering our TVs with windmills isn’t going to eliminate the need to produce plastic to manufacturer the TVs, nor the need for landfills to throw them into when they break down. The millions of fish who get mutilated, killed, and maimed each year by motorboats will not find comfort in knowing that the boats are powered with supposedly green energy. Obviously, all of this is not a reason to continue using traditional energies – it’s a reason to clear our eyes and stop using energies.
Note that “sustainable” isn’t the same as “self-sustaining.” Everything we create breaks down: The massive infrastructure needed for sustainable energy will always need regular maintenance and repair. And these sites will have accidents, which will kill animals and plants and perhaps people.
Note also that there will never be enough. Sustainables seem to think that, once the systems are set up, they’ll be completely self-reliant, as though our society doesn’t indulge in an ever-increasing desire for more energy; as though we won’t have to be building more and more sustainable energy sites; and as though those who own the sustainable energy companies won’t encourage more and more energy consumption, in order to increase their profits. We see the greed of those who own and run traditional energy companies, and we see their maniacal, relentless destruction of everything they are able to destroy, in order to get more energy to sell. But there are people with financial interests at stake on the sustainable side, too. Many traditional energy companies also have investments in sustainable energy, and even the upstart companies have financial interests.
If, someday, we have a fully-developed sustainable energy industry, it will be run by people who are just as ruthless and brutal as those running traditional companies; it won’t magically be run by kind people who really care. The new reign would promote energy usage just as much as today’s energy industry leaders. Do you think the people running today’s traditional energy companies think of themselves as merciless, ruthless, greedy people? Do you think they realize how morally vacant they are? I have no doubt that they believe they are not only decent people, but, beyond that, that they are virtuous, the good guys. I’m sure they believe that they are doing not only what is best for themselves, but what is best for the country as a whole; that they are providing the energy which makes our [indolent, self-indulgent, selfish] lifestyle possible (which they believe is a superior lifestyle). Beyond that, I’m sure they’ve provided themselves a rationale for all the price gouging they engage in, telling themselves it is a virtuous act.
People on the sustainable side of the coin (it’s all the same coin) make it easier for traditionals to continue their devastation. The sustainables don’t argue against destruction of the Earth, nor against harming the entities of Creation – rather, they argue against the type of destruction caused by traditional energies, preferring, instead, their own type of destruction. It’s pretty easy to shoot holes in this line of thinking.
Moreover, by using science to prove the damage caused by traditional energies, people are just giving traditionals something arguable to go against. We can all see the Earth torn apart, blown up, dug up, drilled… And we see some of the effects (like smog and nuclear waste). The devastation itself is not arguable to anyone who truly respects the Earth and her children, but the science is. Science can be argued –it’s not exact; it’s a sliding truth; it’s open to interpretation. Anyone can look at what we do and see it is wrong and be alarmed and saddened and hurt, without needing science to prove it is wrong. As soon as you make it a matter of proof, you’ve lost – because anything that can be proved can also be disproved.
Those who do believe in global warming think science is an objective field, that is isn’t a matter of faith, because it’s empirical. They can’t understand that there are people (like me) who are so dense (they think) as to not believe, because they believe so fervently, just as some Christians do. And the near hysteria of some on the sustainable energy side allows traditionals to pretend that all the people opposing the traditional energy industries are cuckoos, like there is no “legitimate” opposition to what they do.
If you don’t believe it’s important to care for the Earth and her children for their own sakes (and sustainables don’t believe this any more than traditionals do) rather than for the sake of humans (as though we are somehow separate from the whole), then anything is okay. If you see that we are one, you realize that, if you are hurting the planet, you are automatically hurting humans, too, but the science actually makes it easy to argue against this view. In science, some destruction is acceptable without its hurting humans. As I said, it’s easy to argue against this slippery, sliding truth.
But this is how our culture works. We are not all on the same side, with a common goal of doing what is best for the whole, the entirety of Creation. We have opposing sides, and they all have self-interest at heart, even though they tell themselves they don’t. We have no common sense of caring for and being guardians of the Earth and her children; we have an adversarial culture in which people are always arguing that they see more clearly than the other side(s), but in which they are all actually as culturally blind. They all use the same lenses; they all have the same cultural world view, and it is this culture which makes both the destruction and the meaningless argument about the destruction a reality.