How nuclear disaster forced Japan to be frugal with energy

In 1972 the Club of Rome published a controversial study that looked at the interaction of finite resources and exponential growth. The scenario they painted was not pretty. The report was largely dismissed as a doomsday scenario. And yet, nearly 40 years later, we are reaching exactly what that study predicted: the limits to growth. What they predicted seems not only plausible, but to be actually happening. And this time, doomsday may not be just a "scenario." We are looking at peak water, peak oil, peak fossil fuels. This including the uranium necessary to fuel the nuclear reactors the industry claims are essential to prevent the other elephant in the room- global warming. And, as Jonathan Watts cogently points out, we may be facing the age of "peak human."

Unpopular as the idea may be, our energy problem may have less to do with energy than with overpopulation. And, with an unwillingness to live within our means, within the means of the earth we live on. Human nature being what it is, it doesn't seem likely we will stop having children. This makes it more imperative that we live in a way that will protect them. The future, their future, is a trust we have been given. To conserve and grow, not to squander wastefully on needless excesses. The earth is a trust, to protect and to honor. Our home, our livelihood, our future rests in the quality of our stewardship. Let us become better stewards.

Guardian Environment Blog l Jonathan Watts     12 May, 2011

Japan's decision not to build more nuclear reactors is understandable given the explosions and leaks at the Fukushima power plant. But how will the country make up the massive energy shortfall? Prime ministerNaoto Kan says supply can be sustained by investing more in renewables like wind, solar and geothermal. But there is a far simpler, cheaper and cleaner solution: use less power.

As I learned on a trip to Tokyo and Tohoku last week, this is already happening. In the wake of a disaster that knocked out six reactors,Japan's businesses and people have been forced to scale back their electricity consumption.

To conserve power, the utilities scheduled rolling power cuts, but many have not been necessary because considerable energy has been saved simply by promoting frugality. In shopping malls and stations, many automatic doors and escalators have been switched off, which means – shock, horror – that people are forced to push open doors and walk up stairs (there are still elevators for wheelchairs).

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We Can Replace Indian Point Renewable Energy and Efficiency Technologies Are Available and Ready

Council on Intelligent Energy & Conservation Policy

 Exit Plan:  Renewables Can Replace Indian Point Nuclear  

Do we have the resolve to make the leap towards a clean energy future? 

Make no mistake, despite the plethora of legalities, at the end of the day this is precisely the determination that will be made here. 

For to accept the argument that Indian Point is irreplaceable, is to believe that the most innovative and advanced scientists and engineers in America cannot find a way to replace the electricity produced by one facility.  On its face, this is preposterous.

In fact nuclear plants around the nation have closed with little incident, and so would Indian Point.

Obama needs to come clean on conservation

Derrick Jackson, in the Boston Globe, criticizes the President for failing to stress the need for conservation on a personal level in his bid for clean energy and independence from fossil fuels.

The same could be said for the lack of focus on efficiency in government programs, but Mr.Jackson is absolutely right. If we want to cut our dependance on oil and fossil fuels, as a country, and as individuals, we are going to have to give up some of our toys.

The SUV is not the only culprit, but the size of our cars and the amount that we drive them both will have to change as we move towards a cleaner energy future.


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Nuclear Power is not the Answer