18 February 2010

Ecopragmatist for a Nuclear Urban Future

Related to the recent Obama endorsement of two new nuclear power plants, here is an interview with Stewart Brand on KQED

..Brand helped define the 1960s counterculture with his "Whole Earth Catalog." Now he's angered some on the left with a new book, "Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto," which endorses nuclear power and genetic engineering:
"Urbanization has defused the population bomb"
...his new book Whole Earth Discipline presents four heresies: Cities are Green! Nukes are Green! Gene modification is Green! Geoengineering is Probably Necessary!

...“energy efficiency and conservation come first, last, and always.” He just doesn’t believe that clean, non-nuclear power sources can scale fast enough to meet the baseload demand of growing megacities or shut down coal fast enough to avoid climate disaster....

Brand attempts to push “ecopragmatism” on a green movement he considers overly prone to sentiment and ideology...

... "frankly, now I've gotten to the point now that even if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, greenhouse gases, and climate change were not significant issues, I would still probably be pro-nuclear. Because coal is so awful."

...We are doing what ecologists call ecosystem engineering. That's what beavers do─they make dams, and then you get a much richer environment. Earthworms do it, too. So we need to be as productive, ecologically, as earthworms and beavers.

...My wife and I have lived for 25 years in 450 square feet. It's easy to cool, because we are on the water. It's easy to heat, because there's not much space. We do use biodiesel. There's a solar panel on the flybridge that brings a little juice down into the battery bank. But mainly it's living small...

-more here

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