Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Am A Practical Environmentalist

PRESIDENT'S CORNER. By Norris McDonald. I call myself a practical environmentalist because, not only is life short, local communities and the planet are in dire need of environmental protection. Of course others call me other things but what else is new. Global warming is quite possibly beyond human capability to solve, but mitigation is possible. Humankind probably does not have the will to do what it takes to stop global warming. So we better learn to adapt. This puts more pressure on me to mitigate air pollution in Clean Air Act nonattainment areas. Higher temperatures will cook up a deadlier smog. And asthmatics like me will die sooner. And more people will develop breathing problems. I agree with the Declaration of Independence that we are endowed by our Creator with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Global warming undermines, even destroys, these right.

But what about personal 'feel good' practices? Is there anything wrong with them? Nope. Whatever gets you through the night. Will they reduce energy consumption or stop global warming? Nope. Purchasing a Prius can make you feel as though you are doing your part to help the planet, but many of the other people driving the 200 million cars and trucks do not feel the same way. Green building standards such as the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) make the building owners feel good, but will not reduce energy use because so many more buildings have to be built. Hotels, corporations and cities are now seeking 'feel good' programs for energy and environmental programs. Will they stop global warming? Nope. Draconian technological measures are the only path to mitigation. Capitalism does not always care about what is good for us. And I love capitalism.

AAEA associates are working day and night trying to get practical solutions to our energy and environmental problems adopted. The answers are there, mostly in technology. It is working with decision-makers, America's military industrial commercial complex and public acceptance that will determine the technologies our society needs to be productive and environmentally friendly. We love promoting practical solutions to these problems. And I love being a practical environmentalist.

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