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Profile Information

Name: Hunter
Gender: Male
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 37,616

About Me

I'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.

Journal Archives

I enthusiastically supported Jimmy Carter.

Burning ANY amount of fossil fuels in an expanding economy is a death warrant for this civilization and most of the ecosystems we humans evolved in.

What we now call "economic productivity" is a direct measure of the damage we are doing to the earth's natural environment and our own human spirit.

Compare every bad nuclear powered thing, from Nagasaki to Chernobyl, to every bad fossil fuel thing and note there is no comparison. Fossil fuels are more destructive in EVERY WAY.

Day in, day out, hungry humans with guns and chainsaws and motor vehicles are more destructive than any exploding nuclear power plant.

Even if we follow the German model of economic development, expanding it to all the world, "first world" affluence for all, this world civilization still ends in flame, the oceans rising faster than we can cope, and areas inhabited by humans for many thousands of years becoming uninhabitable.

We already live in an authoritarian hell. The unemployed and the unemployable are severely punished. The angry destructive unemployable people are imprisoned, and in a very racially biased manner. The vast majority of us suffer work that's destroying us and this planet we share with so many other sentient species, the elephants, the apes, the cetaceans, the birds...

So explain to me again, why should I worry about nuclear power?

If I were to worry about any source of energy today, it would be the huge gas projects, things like the Gorgon project in Australia, or some of the horrors China is cooking up to solve their air pollution problems.

I'm not a complete pessimist, ready to pull up an easy chair and have a few beers as I watch the world burn. As DU'er Recursion has observed, the future human will live in a mega-city, and their individual environmental footprint will be smaller than yours or mine.

The details of success will be mundane. Toilets draining to modern sewage treatment plants that recycle the water and reclaim the nutrients. People walking or using electric public transportation in their daily lives, having no reason to own an automobile. Free healthcare, birth control, and education. Many ways to live a very satisfying life, even with a minimal income.

We'll figure it out, or we'll die. We're not special. The earth has witnessed many innovative species grow exponentially and then collapse, often to extinction. In a hundred thousand years this civilization will be a weird layer of trash in the geologic record.

I'm an evolutionary biologist by inclination and much formal training. I take the long view. I also have serious mental health issues, major depression accompanied by godawful nightmares, nightmares that sometimes follow me into wakefulness as hallucinations. Migraines are more tolerable, and I get those too. When my meds are not right I'm a mess, and they are not right now. I spent the other day in the hospital and I'm just now looking at the monster bruise on my arm where they stuck the needle in.

Of course I believe this gives me the ability to unflinchingly observe the world as it actually is. The world is not well, and I can't pretend wind turbines and solar panels will solve our problems.

The trouble is, and always has been, humans and our magical thinking. We live in oceans of toxins of our own making, many of them with half-lives of forever yet somehow radioactive toxins are magically worse. Too many of us believe we are the exceptional children of some crazy ass god who will take care of us if only we follow his crazy ass rules, and punish us if we don't. The earth itself doesn't hear those voices in our heads. We all live and die by the math. It's chemistry, physics, and biology. Doing the math on human population, on fossil fuels, on all the natural resources diverted for human use, leaves little room for optimism.

But it also gives us a few clues on how we might prevent our own extinction. That's the light I live in. I don't need any greenwash.

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