Environmentalism Has Lost its Way

Published January 11, 2022

Driven by climate madness, the environmental movement has become the greatest advocate of destructive industrial development in history.

As Kant said: “To will the end is to will the means”. In this case the means to the phantom end of climate control have led environmentalists to abandon all of their principles. Solar and wind require environmental destruction on an unprecedented scale. Electrification requires the use of toxic chemicals on a similar scale. The hazardous waste stream is enormous.

Solar is the worst because the destruction of forests and open land is complete. Perhaps something lives under these vast solar slabs but not much and certainly nothing like what they destroy and displace.

As I pointed out in my recent article on Virginia’s ill-named Clean Economy Act, we are talking about hundreds of square miles of solar devastation today, for just one state. See my https://www.cfact.org/2021/12/27/paving-virginia-with-solar-slabs-is-a-bad-law/.

To actually meet our need for electricity would require several thousand square miles of destruction just for Virginia. For the whole country the numbers are staggering, easily the biggest environmental disaster in our history.

Wind is environmentally destructive too, just in a different way.

Let me make this personal. I live in the mountains, in far eastern West Virginia. When I drive to the county seat I get a grand view of the big mountain to the west. It is called the Allegheny Front, the height of land between the Atlantic and Mississippi watersheds. My magnificent natural view is now being industrialized, dotted with windmills and more on the way.

I am sure natural vistas are everywhere threatened, because that is where the best wind is. Mind you we almost never get sustained winds strong enough for full power, but that just means they need more intrusive industrial wind machines to produce the juice.

Even worse, there is a viewpoint up on the Front called Bear Rocks, where crowds gather every fall to watch the hawk migration. Great numbers of hawks come by in swirling groups called kettles, working their way slowly southward down the Front. Surely significant numbers will be killed by the growing phalanx of giant chopping blades.

West Texas has something like 10,000 choppers and other states are rapidly going the same way. That the environmentalists can allow the killing of enormous numbers of protected birds is a clear abandonment of their principles. This is Silent Spring in real life, with entire species threatened.

Then too, environmentalists fight hard for roadless areas. Scattering giant wind machines around a mountain top requires a dense system of access roads, one to every tower. In rugged terrain these systems can be complex and so big, destructive land users.

At the other end of the wire we have chemicals, especially enormous numbers of big batteries.

First come the huge battery arrays needed to turn highly intermittent wind and solar power into reliable juice. Then come the myriad batteries needed to electrify our transportation system, which also requires a lot more solar and wind devastation. Note that a lot of juice will go through batteries twice on its way to use.

Minimizing the use of toxic chemicals has been a cornerstone environmental principle. That the movement should now opt for chemical energy as a central feature of our energy system is a complete abandonment of that principle.

Then there is solid waste, which has always been a central environmental concern. Compared to conventional power plants, wind blades and solar panels are short lived, batteries are ridiculously so. In a solar, wind and battery world we are likely talking about billions of tons of toxic waste.

I think just about every principle of environmentalism is violated by the proposed massive buildout of wind, solar and electrification. Why the environmentalists are not screaming and suing to stop this vast open land destroying, wildlife killing and chemically intensive action is beyond me. Clearly environmentalism has lost its way.


PHOTO: Tree. PHOTO BY: Martin Sveden, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).