Friday, April 3, 2009

Environmentalists vs. Environmentalists

The Natural Resources Defense Council has worked with Google to create a Google Earth mapping tool which shows environmentally sensitive areas of the American West.

The NRDC, like a lot of environmental groups, is especially concerned about the potential damage to wildlife and ecosystems of developing the region's prodigious energy potential. The irony is that much of this energy is in the form of wind and solar power - the very resources which need to be developed if we have any chance of doing anything about global warming. Obama has made some pretty bold moves to invest in those renewable energy resources in the west: a big chunk of the recent stimulus was devoted to building up the infrastructure that is sorely needed if that energy is to be brought to market.

The problem is that that infrastructure - the wind towers and solar panels, and all the high-voltage electrical lines that will connect them to the national grid - can cause problems for wildlife. From a New York Times article on the NRDC map:
The wind industry publishes photos of cows grazing placidly around towers, and argues it is compatible with nature. But Brian A. Rutledge, executive director of the Audubon Society of Wyoming, said wildlife and domesticated species were different. “We have species of birds, for example, that won’t nest within 200 yards of a road, period,’’ he said. Some prairie birds will not venture anywhere near a vertical object like a tower or a power-line pylon, he said, probably because they are genetically imprinted to avoid natural vertical features, like trees, where predators perch. The lesser prairie chicken, he said, will not cross under a power line, even between widely spaced towers. “It becomes like a river down the middle of their population base,’’ he said.
One such species is the sage grouse, the range of which sits right in the middle of an area where a lot of new transmission lines are likely to be needed.

As the Times puts it, the map amounts to the "battle lines being drawn" by the NRDC and like-minded organizations - a declaration of where they intend to fight development. It depicts areas that are prohibited, such as natural parks and wilderness areas, where devlopment is already prohibited; restricted areas, where rules on the books limit development, often because of threatened species; and "areas that should be avoided" - where, in other words, development may be permitted, but the NRDC is prepared to fight it.

I'm sympathetic to the NRDC, and we should all hope that development takes place in the most ecologically sensitive way possible, yadda yadda. But this framing, from the Times article, really seems to miss the forest for the trees (or the world for the forest):
And while the battle lines are quite literally available with a few mouse clicks, the intent is not entirely hostile, with the national groups recognizing that the issue is environmental balance, pitting prairie species like the greater sage-grouse against animals like the polar bear, which lives on ice that is melting because of global warming, some of it probably caused by coal-fired power plants that wind and sun could partly replace.
What a trivialization of what global warming is all about! Polar bears pulling a dodo is the least of our worries when it comes to global warming. It's not the sage-grouse vs. the polar bear; it's the sage grouse versus massive ecological calamity and the possible meltdown of entire ecosystems, not to mention famine and the mass dislocation of human populations. I'm all for sage or any other kind of grouses; but if legal wrangling over their protected status holds up the development of one of the few promising options we have for getting off of fossil fuels, then I will be mighty annoyed.

But because I am a fair man, I will let the sage-grouse have the last word. Here is a detail of their range from the Google Earth map.


Anonymous said...

There have *got* to be transmission line routes which don't disrupt local ecosystems.

If it's the pylons, how about burying the lines in underground pipe for that part of the distance?

For creatures which won't go near roads, well, we can certainly detour the power lines to follow existing roads.

Anonymous said...

I don’t know If I said it already, but this so good stuff keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part Astaga com lifestyle on the net just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks.

Best regards
Blogospheree News berita Di Blogospheree

janewangleilei said...

You can have a look at it.
jordan shoes
jordan ajf shoes
There are cheap shoes to choose
jordan 6
jordan flight 45
Good quality with low price.
air jordan 2010
Air Jordan 2009
Enjoy it!
jordan 28
newest jordans
jordan 7
air yeezy
jordan true flight
I can't believe it.
nike outlet
adidas outlet
puma outlet
coats & jackets
abercrombie fitch outlet

tn requin said...

sleeping bag
travel luggage
car gps
car parts
GPS navigation
portable GPS
lcd tv
flat tv
digital picture frames
unlocked cell phones
wedding dresses
wedding jewelry
chaussures mode
chaussures Femmes
women's shoes
round tablecloth
discount handbags
chaussures sport
chaussures pas cher
fashion bedding
id lanyard
creative gadgets
gift ideas
kids wall stickers
wall stickers
bath curtains
kitchen faucet
bathroom faucet

tempat terindah said...

indonewz fashionable tempat

Penis Enlargement Pills said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I think I will leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

men's clothing said...

China wholesale shops
wholesale electronics
Tablet PC
discount fashion jewelry

wholesale clothing
wholesale toys
wholesale fashion bags
wholesale designer shoes
Wholesale SD Cards

Laptop Keyboard
Laptop Battery
Mens polo shirts

kamagra said...

Very good information, we are close to experience a big change in our planet, we all should be mentally prepared.

nisioi_cosmin said...

There are actually plenty of particulars like that to take into consideration. That may be a nice point to convey up. I provide the ideas above as common inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where an important thing can be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged round things like that, however I am positive that your job is clearly identified as a good game. Each boys and girls really feel the affect of just a second’s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.
Remixuri 2011

Steve Emanuel said...

I am thoroughly convinced in this said post. I am currently searching for ways in which I could enhance my knowledge in this said topic you have posted here. It does help me a lot knowing that you have shared this information here freely. I love the way the people here interact and shared their opinions too. I would love to track your future posts pertaining to the said topic we are able to read.penis enlargement

mortgage calculator said...

Oh this is lovely! That is beautiful
Thanks for sharing ;) You always have such great projects.
A Mortgage Calculator is a tool you can use to figure out what your estimated mortgage payments will be and is based on the value of the home, interest rates, loan amount, loan length, and more.
Our Mortgage Calculator can be used by anyone, whether you are in the real estate business, or just a current or future home owner. If your interest rate changes, you can use the Calculator to see what impact it will have on your monthly payment.
Our stock-mar watercolors arrived in this amazing blog

Sagging skin said...

Your post is really good providing good information Health benefits of oatmeal
Benefits of tea tree oil Common digestive system diseases and disorders Health benefits of saltHealth benefits of salt Prevent wrinkles naturally Hemorrhoids Toothache pain home remedies Hip pain Top fertility foods Dandruff treatment Garlic benefitsHealth benefits of garlic Remedies for sinus headache Get smooth and glowing skinSmooth and glowing skin Cellulite Tighten sagging skin Dry skin patches treatmentDry skin patches Get rid of acneGet rid of acne Driving tips Migraine headache remedies Migraine headache

Anonymous said...

cinsel sohbet
lez sohbet
bayan sohbet

tablet pc 10 pulgadas said...

Very helpful piece of writing, much thanks for the article.

Super Bowl 2012 said...

Such a wonderful information for all the people to aware global warming.
Web Design Company| Clone Script|

Chat Sohbet said...

Thank you admin...Chat Sohbet Chat Sohbet Sohbet chat çet çet Sohbet said...

This can't really work, I believe like this.

Anonymous said...

phone number lookup

Anonymous said...

reverse cell phone lookup

reverse address lookup

cell phone directory

phone number search

free people search

criminal background check

reverse phone lookup

reverse phone lookup

felicity said...

It always feels good to come back here. I love it... it's just nice to see a lot of insightful ideas..
home treatments for hemorrhoids
easy online business
No.1 Natural Cure From Japan
Proven Natural Cure For Eyes

albumfoto said...

I think people fear idea management and innovation because there's a significant number of ideas that simply won't plan out.......Nice statement.....keep posting

asuransi pendidikan said...

this day I've been searching for information on various issues, this I found very good and I would like to congratulate you for your work.

design interior jakarta said...

I think that this post is one of the best that i have read in my life, congrats you did a great job,.

perusahan security said...

the difference between the content spammers and most corporate innovators is that the smaller

jual wine said...

I'm writing to you because I just came across a business that I think has great potential. It lets you save money on almost everything. Make money from almost everything,

coklat valentine said...

If growth is important to a firm, and if growth is dependent on offering existing products and services to new customers

belajar internet marketing said...

innovation is very natural and happens in the "real world" as new plants and animals colonize new ecological niches.

kuliner bandung said...

I wonder how you got so good. This is really a fascinating blog, lots of stuff that I can get into. One thing I just want to say is that your Blog is so perfect

konsultan perusahaan said...

We generally think most specifically about the risk associated with a new product introduction

how to stay erect said...

I would be aware that as somebody who really doesn’t comment to blogs a lot (in actual fact, this may be my first put up), I don’t think the time period “lurker” is very flattering to a non-posting reader.

elizabeth bernot said...

Costa Rica Fishing

Fishing Costa Rica said...

Thank you for your very nice article, do not forget to read my articles also kata kata bijak, kata kata cinta, kata kata romantis, kata kata motivasi and many other interesting articles on my blog that.

resep kue kering said...

Good writing and interesting to note, thank you! see also my article about resep kue and resep masakan as well as please the value of my website saatnya yes! greetings success for us all.