"Zabaleen" is the Arabic term for those visionary and enterprising people whose culture revolves around recycling. The Zabaleen are experts at "transforming one man's garbage into another man's gold" and aspire toward a net zero-waste economy. Applied and supported this could lead to true energy independence, not only by radically reducing our demand for "raw materials" and hard to extract natural resources but by recycling other less obvious phenomena and materials that are now wasted.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Birthday Climate Changes and small town nuke reactions
Thomas Henry Culhanehas woken up a year older and wiser and is ready to join ranks with the "global warming skeptics" and "climate change naysayers" to try and form a stronger coalition against nuclear proliferation and an atomic energy renaissance; viz. "we don't need radioactive-rock-powered carbon free energy, thankyou very much!"
This is perhaps the most frightening and, in my opinion, irresponsible article National Geographic has ever published, making our beloved magazine appear for the first time like a shil for the centralized energy lobby. After three pages of glowing commentary (pun not intended) for this terrible idea they toss off the ...unresolved issue of highly radioactive waste in one glib sentence and say nothing about how a massive deployment of "small town nukes" will affect proliferation and increase terrorist threats, to say nothing of the dangers of having radioactive material shipped to every Bedford Falls in the world. They don't talk about the health of thorium and uranium miners and plutonium process factory workers and their families (we saw the consequences and the horrible deformities of babies and children when we met with the doctors studying this in India). And they don't talk about how this initiative to "decentralize" nuclear energy through micro-nuke deployment, while keeping centralized control of the manufacture, sale, installation, servicing and fueling of the reactors will affect the true decentralized distributed energy sector which is working with safe, clean, renewable energy sources. The "carbon free, relatively cheap" mantra, using climate change scare tactics to get environmentally concerned citizens to approve these horrible devices, is a red herring since we already have plenty of net carbon zero technologies if we are really concerned with global warming that are safe and can be immediately deployed and the nukes will be subsidized by tax payer money so that they can outcompete nascent idustries with large start-up and capital costs.
Quite frankly, as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer who is working on small town renewable energy issues I am deeply disappointed, dismayed, disturbed and depressed, not only by the push that the U.S. and France and others is making for this, but by the fact that National Geographic is publishing such uncritical material that sounds more like an advertisement or a piece of industry propaganda than a report. As we used to say in Dobbs Ferry New York, to express shock and concern "hey, Nat Geo, what's the big idea?"