I also think it’s complete nonsense to claim that we need to make a choice between technology and ecological sustainability when it’s the misuse of technology not it’s presence that’s the problem.
I did a paper on the collapse of the Newfoundland cod fishery for college shortly after it happened. It was a needless disaster that eliminated one of the densest biomasses on the planet and ended a 500 year sustainable fishery.
The Canadian government decided that it was time to make big profits off the cod and concentrated the fishery into just a few companies who invested in offshore vessels that could harvest the cod in the their breeding grounds. This was in the late 1970s.
By the mid 1980s the traditional inshore fishermen were reporting a drop in numbers but nothing was done as the DFOs numbers were still strong. What no one was told was that the DFO was getting its data from the industry itself, it wasn’t conducting independent research to verify fish stocks. By the time the problem was realized it was too late to do anything. What the DFO hadn’t factored into it’s conclusions was that the offshore fisheries had been getting progressively more efficient at finding and catching the cod. They had new sonar, high tech location gear including GPS at the end and spotter planes. The boat captains also got very good at knowing where the fish would be. So the industry numbers didn’t drop until the fish stocks were almost gone, the Newfoundland cod is commercially extinct now and hasn’t rebounded in twenty years of protection. From one of the densest biomasses on the planet it’s at such low levels it can’t recover.
Billions of dollars are spent every year subsidizing industrial fishing that has a huge by-catch that is usually dumped back into the oceans dead, up to half the catch.
We’re to the point where over fishing threatens many important species.
Faced with the collapse of large-fish populations, commercial fleets are going deeper in the ocean and father down the food chain for viable catches. This so-called “fishing down” is triggering a chain reaction that is upsetting the ancient and delicate balance of the sea’s biologic system.
A study of catch data published in 2006 in the journal Science grimly predicted that if fishing rates continue apace, all the world’s fisheries will have collapsed by the year 2048.
So don’t tell me this is about technological advancement over ecological responsibility when the root problem is usually a very limited corporate interest driving policy that is highly destructive against the both the long and short term interests of the public.
It’s also ridiculous to claim that the energy sector is a driving force in advanced technology when we’re effectively still stuck in the age of steam for most of our power.
The real doomsayers are claiming nuclear power is too dangerous when coal power produces far more radioactive pollution than nuclear power ever did, including the major accidents.
The result: estimated radiation doses ingested by people living near the coal plants were equal to or higher than doses for people living around the nuclear facilities. At one extreme, the scientists estimated fly ash radiation in individuals’ bones at around 18 millirems (thousandths of a rem, a unit for measuring doses of ionizing radiation) a year. Doses for the two nuclear plants, by contrast, ranged from between three and six millirems for the same period. And when all food was grown in the area, radiation doses were 50 to 200 percent higher around the coal plants.
So while we get bizarre claims about Fukushima possibly contaminating the entire Pacific Ocean, the reality is that the accident there released only about 1/4 of the radiation that a typical coal power plant does in one year.
And how about developing molten salt reactors that can’t melt down and use almost 99% of the input fuel instead of spending billions to dig up Northern Alberta and frack the hell out of the entire continent. Nuclear power is the densest fuel available, the entire globe could be run for a year on fissile mattrial equal to the amount of coal, oil and gas that is extracted in a few minutes.
I could go on, but what’s the point in a world where most people seem effectively brain dead.