Friday, March 20, 2009

The Age of Stupid

'Windfarm developer Piers Guy doesn't see wind energy as the magic bullet that will save the world from climate change. But he does think that, especially for a windy country like England, turbines are the "foot soldiers, the pioneers" of a more intelligent energy system based on massively reducing energy use. He believes that "out of sight, out of mind" energy production has led to us all becoming "consumerholics" and, therefore, "the more you can see the turbines the better".' (The people of the film 'The Age of Stupid' [click here])

There is so much illogic here that it is almost unassailable.

1. Wind energy will not save the world from climate change.
2. A more intelligent energy system will be based on reducing use.
3. The current system encourages excessive use because consumers don't see the blight of electricity production.
4. Filling the countryside with giant wind turbines will make consumers more conscious of electricity production.
5. Being more conscious of electricity production, consumers will use less.

There's a lot missing in the leap to the conclusion of point 5, but most importantly it implies that wind turbines are necessary to 'spread the blight', as it were, a program the justification of which relies on an assumption that seeing the blight of electricity production will cause consumers to use less energy.

This assumption, however, is not supported. If spreading the blight is the motive, consumers are hardly likely to conserve because they've been punished with a vandalized landscape. Or, if we assume that Piers Guy believes that wind turbines symbolize 'intelligent' energy and thereby would stand as inspiration for consumers, their presence would actually stand as license not to conserve -- because now the energy they use is 'smart'.

(All of this ignores the fact that it is not obscure knowledge that fossil fuel burning is an environmental scourge. By the logic here, we need to build more highways and coal plants precisely because we usually try to minimize their impacts. Thus there is a contradictory premise at the basis of this syllogism: People are ignorant of energy production, because they have worked to minimize its impacts.)

But anyhow, wind energy is not "the magic bullet that will save the world from climate change". So it's a sham, meant to destroy our landscapes (not to mention our lives and the lives of other animals) either to make us feel bad or to make us feel good -- but not actually changing anything for the better.

At best, the "consumerholic" will shift from rotgut to plonk (as sold by Messieur Guy).

The fact is, Piers Guy is a salesman who seems to have bought his own pitch and thus finds himself in a morass of twisted logic as he pretends (to himself, no less) that his interest is not simply to make money, that it is not his life alone that would be made better by energy sprawl in the form of giant wind turbines.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism, ecoanarchism