Monday, December 6, 2010

on the dangers of giving humans lots of energy

Atomic Insights Blog: A video that Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor would love. More power! What can 1 pound of uranium per day do? has a video of a Russian nuclear powered ice breaker going to the North Pole through the ice at high speed. It makes Rod Adams think of all the benefits of nuclear power. It makes me think that humans with lots of energy will do lots of mindless (and sometimes deliberate) destructive things.

Before the Industrial Revolution we felt powerless in the face of nature. Actually some of our worst human environmental disasters had already happened: the destruction of the megafauna outside Africa; deforestation of Britain and many other places. With fossil fuels the potential for destruction became so great that we invented the National Park. With nuclear power we need to aim even higher: the restoration of most of the Earth to its natural condition (plus intervention to compensate for the lack of megafauna). Let's let the rivers flood as they are meant to, and the oceans and rivers be free of industrial fishing. Let's use our biological skills to get rid of introduced species in many places.

Of course it is a bit premature to worry about a world with too much energy.