A quote by the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) land program in USA Today does not sound like it came from a conservation organization.
"There's no free lunch when it comes to meeting our energy needs," she said. "To get energy, we need to do things that will have impacts."She was encouraging fellow environmentalists not to worry about the negative impacts of the Obama administration's renewable energy policy, which will destroy thousands of square miles of wildlands. I'm sure coal and oil executives have used the same "no free lunch" argument about offshore drilling, mountaintop removal mining, and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Yes. Everything we do will have impacts. But aren't we supposed to try to minimize those impacts? Isn't that what "environmental organizations have been saying for decades? I would have expected a more sophisticated statement from an organization committed to conserving natural resources and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Isn't turning a blind eye to the pitfalls of utility-scale solar energy development much like ignoring the science behind climate change? If we consider ourselves conservationist, environmentalists, or greens, does that mean we must become cheerleaders for the renewable energy industry no matter what its impacts are?