The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism
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Alternative solutions to the growing energy crisis other than alternative energy.

"Green" technology and energy solutions are all the rage as global warming, rising populations and unheard-of oil prices confront the world. However, asks Zehner, "do we have a society capable of being powered by alternative energy?" His answer is no. With thorough research, the author demonstrates that no amount of solar panels, wind turbines, biodiesel, nuclear plants or “clean” coal will solve these global problems. The underlying issue is not the lack of energy or a new way to generate it but overconsumption of available energy and resources. Zehner proves that many of today's "green" solutions would be prohibitively expensive on a grand scale and/or cause more environmental damage than good. The author examines "some ideas that, hopefully [will] spur some thought into how we might practically move from material and energy consumption to more durable and meaningful forms of social growth and well-being.” These ideas include the creation of more "walking communities," cities in which the basic needs of citizens can be reached on foot or by bicycle. He also advocates "advancing the rights of women and girls," since contraceptive education is just one part of the puzzle of population explosion, and he suggests the creation of a "Department of Efficiency," which would be responsible for reducing the rampant waste of energy. "America has plenty of energy—more than twice as much as it needs,” he writes. “We just waste most of it.” By offering readers numerous steps toward reaching attainable goals, Zehner hopes environmentalists will initiate a shift of focus to “women's rights, consumer culture, walkable neighborhoods, military spending, zoning, health care, wealth disparities, citizen governance, economic reform, and democratic institutions.”

A bold look at the downside of green technologies and a host of refreshingly simple substitute solutions.



Pub Date: June 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8032-3775-9
Page count: 456pp
Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2012


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