Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism

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U of Nebraska Press, 2012 - Technology & Engineering - 437 pages
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We don?t have an energy crisis. We have a consumption crisis. And this book, which takes aim at cherished assumptions regarding energy, offers refreshingly straight talk about what?s wrong with the way we think and talk about the problem. Though we generally believe we can solve environmental problems with more energy?more solar cells, wind turbines, and biofuels?alternative technologies come with their own side effects and limitations. How, for instance, do solar cells cause harm? Why can?t engineers solve wind power?s biggest obstacle? Why won?t contraception solve the problem of overpopulation lying at the heart of our concerns about energy, and what will?
This practical, environmentally informed, and lucid book persuasively argues for a change of perspective. If consumption is the problem, as Ozzie Zehner suggests, then we need to shift our focus from suspect alternative energies to improving social and political fundamentals: walkable communities, improved consumption, enlightened governance, and, most notably, women?s rights. The dozens of first steps he offers are surprisingly straightforward. For instance, he introduces a simple sticker that promises a greater impact than all of the nation?s solar cells. He uncovers why carbon taxes won?t solve our energy challenges (and presents two taxes that could). Finally, he explores how future environmentalists will focus on similarly fresh alternatives that are affordable, clean, and can actually improve our well-being.
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GREEN ILLUSIONS: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Alternative solutions to the growing energy crisis other than alternative energy."Green" technology and energy solutions are all the rage as global warming, rising populations and unheard-of oil ... Read full review

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The research seems well done, though I wish he'd gone after wind power from an aesthetic angle more than its lack of economic pragmatism. Industrial scale wind turbines are the most visible blight on rural lands Man has ever created. They are placed independent of geological formations which limit locations where coal, oil and gas are developed (even despite modern fracking). Wind projects are also designed to be permanent fixtures that aren't subject to landscape restoration after finite capacity has played out.
We are seeing the "clean energy" desecration of many scenic areas that aren't officially protected. There are strong moral reasons to oppose such blight, especially when the damage is done by an industry claiming to be green.
 

Contents

From Here to There
147
The Future of Environmentalism
185
A Grander Narrative?
343
Resources for Future Environmentalists
349
Notes
355
Index
415
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About the author (2012)

Ozzie Zehner, who has collaborated on numerous projects in industry, government, and academia, is a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.

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