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Don't trample sensitive ecosystems in rush to alternative energy

As the U.S. tries to reduce the climate change spurred by the warming of the atmosphere because of increasing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, alternative forms of energy production will be necessary. And yet, it doesn't make sense to trample sensitive ecosystems in the new rush to develop alternative energies. It would be an oxymoronic case of destroying the Earth in order to save it.

As the U.S. tries to reduce the climate change spurred by the warming of the atmosphere because of increasing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, alternative forms of energy production will be necessary.

And yet, it doesn't make sense to trample sensitive ecosystems in the new rush to develop alternative energies. It would be an oxymoronic case of destroying the Earth in order to save it.

To develop wind, solar and geothermal alternatives, Americans will have to make hard decisions about where to locate new heavy industrial areas. There's no question that some areas will have to be sacrificed to meet the pressing need for new energy alternatives.

The question of which areas will be sacrificed is beginning to split off pure preservationists from more compromising conservationists in an environmental community that has long called for both energy conservation and development of alternatives.

However, with an intelligent energy plan that uses both strategies, it shouldn't be necessary to sacrifice highly sensitive areas that contain unique species.

The potential for harm is clear. Massive solar arrays can shade every square inch underneath, which in California's deserts may harm... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

As the U.S. tries to reduce the climate change spurred by the warming of the atmosphere because of increasing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, alternative forms of energy production will be necessary.

And yet, it doesn't make sense to trample sensitive ecosystems in the new rush to develop alternative energies. It would be an oxymoronic case of destroying the Earth in order to save it.

To develop wind, solar and geothermal alternatives, Americans will have to make hard decisions about where to locate new heavy industrial areas. There's no question that some areas will have to be sacrificed to meet the pressing need for new energy alternatives.

The question of which areas will be sacrificed is beginning to split off pure preservationists from more compromising conservationists in an environmental community that has long called for both energy conservation and development of alternatives.

However, with an intelligent energy plan that uses both strategies, it shouldn't be necessary to sacrifice highly sensitive areas that contain unique species.

The potential for harm is clear. Massive solar arrays can shade every square inch underneath, which in California's deserts may harm endangered tortoises.

Line after line of wind turbines need service roads that can harm wildlife habitat on mountaintops, plains or ocean reefs.

That knowledge shouldn't stop us in the quest for better energy options.

President Obama's administration needs to put the push for alternative energy on a fast track. Fast tracking while preserving unique places will require enlightened leadership and public support.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last month called for formation of a task force to recommend sites for development of alternative energy facilities-a good start.

But in addition to development of new low-emissions energy-production facilities, one other thing has to change as well: the American mindset regarding energy.

If the U. S. and other nations are to be successful in beating back the climate change that could eventually threaten life on the entire planet, the human citizens of the globe must change their energy habits. It's not going to be enough that a few people turn off the occasional light, install fluorescent bulbs or drive a hybrid car.

It's going to take a massive restructuring of the way people live life and consume energy in developed nations-the biggest energy users of all.

Just what that lifestyle will look like is what Americans must plan today-lest their children face a future of grim tomorrows.


Source: http://www.mtexpress.com/in...

APR 8 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19750-don-t-trample-sensitive-ecosystems-in-rush-to-alternative-energy
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