The Luxury of Thinking Locally

I have never met Carl Zichella of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), but I'm sure he has a history of standing up for what's right for our environment.  But after reading the Desert Sun article on the Department of Interior's plans to allow solar energy companies to bulldoze hundreds of square miles of desert wildlands, I'm convinced Mr. Zichella got lost somewhere on his journey.

In a comment meant to belittle concerned citizens and defend renewable energy companies that are destroying our desert landscapes,  NRDC's Mr. Zichella said the following:
“There is no impact free energy source,” he said “We need to look at the best sites regardless of ownership.We don't have the luxury of looking at this from a local perspective. Ignoring the best resource areas in the world is not a way to show leadership.”
We don't have the luxury of looking at this from a local perspective, he says.  I know he's talking about the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, but the irony in his statement is glaring.  He's defending the wish of big corporations to bulldoze Mother Nature's graceful desert valleys and hillsides for a solar technology that can be installed on our rooftops more efficiently and for less cost to society.  Solar affords us the luxury of local clean energy.

Mr. Zichella, we don't have the luxury of sacrificing more natural resources to corporate greed. So why don't you become a leader and stop ignoring the best resource areas in the world -- our own cities, rooftops and parking lots.  And if you think rooftop solar is to slow to meet the crisis of climate change, think again.  While you have been busy cheerleading for companies that want to destroy nature, hundreds of thousands of homeowners have installed solar panels on rooftops.

Local clean energy installed over an existing parking lot.  Instead of destroying desert wildlands far away, somebody was thoughtful and wise enough to put the solar panels where it makes more sense. Photo by Basin and Range Watch.
The NRDC's preferred alternative is to destroy ecologically intact desert wildlands.  The photo above shows just a fraction of the clearing conducted by BrightSource Energy for the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the northeastern Mojave Desert.  Instead of tearing open mountains for coal, we are ripping up desert for the same sunshine that can be found in our cities.  Photo by Erin Whitfield.


  1. Sing it brother! I'm re-posting this.

    With all the rooftops in LA, why can't they put solar panels there?

  2. In fact LA does have the capacity, according to a UCLA study!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How Many Plants Species in the Desert?

Mowing Vegetation as Mitigation: Trump Administration Practice Goes Unchallenged

The Absurdity of the Cadiz Water Export Scheme