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

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

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

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

Synopsis

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 bio fuels 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.

Excerpt

The world will not evolve past its current state of
crisis by using the same thinking that created the
situation.—Albert Einstein

If the title of this book makes you a little suspicious of what I’m up to, then all is well. We’ll get along just fine. That’s because the dirty secrets ahead aren’t the kind you can be told (you probably wouldn’t believe me anyway), but rather are the kind you must be shown. But even then, I don’t expect you to accept all of my particular renderings.

Ahead you’ll see that this certainly isn’t a book for alternative energy. Neither is it a book against it. In fact, we won’t be talking in simplistic terms of for and against, left and right, good and evil. I wouldn’t dare bludgeon you with a litany of environmental truths when I suspect you’d rather we consider the far more intriguing questions of how such truths are made. Ultimately, this is a book of shades. This is a book for you and others who like to think.

Ahead, we’ll interrogate the very idea of being for or against energy technologies at all. Many energy debates arise from special interests as . . .

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