They’re almost ready to admit it
This post on MotherJones.com represents a huge step forward for a least a small portion of the green industry. Apparently there are a few out there who are ready to admit that all forms of energy use, development, and human activity will have some impact on the natural environment.
The author actually moves beyond the worship of the “green” mindset to admit that the development and construction of hybrid electric and electric cars requires rare earth and other minerals must be mined. They further state that all of the technological advances they use to peruse the MJ website require those same minerals. At the same time, they admit that,
Rare earths occur naturally with the radioactive elements thorium and uranium, which, if not stored securely, can leach into groundwater or escape into the air as dust. The refining process requires huge amounts of harsh acids, which also have to be disposed of safely. …
This creates a real dilemma: What good is green technology if it’s based on minerals whose extraction is so, well, ungreen?
Amazingly, the author then takes a page from our book, essentially admitting that,
All forms of electricity – all forms of human activity – have some impact on our environment. What we need is a rational and reasonable attempt to measure potential costs and risks against potential gains. Where one technology has real benefits, it is worthwhile to recognize them. Where there are costs, we can also recognize those.
The author quotes experts who recognize that, while there are environmental impacts associated with the use of these minerals, they “are just too useful to give up on”. Read it again folks! “Too useful to give up on! I can’t state how truly ideology-rending a move forward this is for some in the green industry.
Of course we’ve been open about this fact for years now – and willing to apply it to electricity generation as well. After all, it’s the resource industry that long ago coined the phrase that, “if it can’t be grown, it has to be mined.”
As a side note, it is unfortunate to see how some of the comments indicate that not all in the green industry are willing to make this bold of a step yet, and they savage the writer for their honesty.
Oh well, we can take heart in the fact that rational risk assessment is recognized by at least some in the green industry.