Greenpeace Offers an Afternoon of Pragmatic Solutions

From the press release: “While international governments meet to decide the fate of the planet’s health at the United Nation’s climate talks in Poznan, Poland, this month, Greenpeace and Lawrence (Kansas) residents will gather to tell the world they are ready to fight global warming.”

I was a little hesitant to go to this event given some of the negative media surrounding Greenpeace.  Without question Greenpeace has made a name for itself as an organization fighting for resolutions regarding imminent environmental issues, though their means methods have been ethically questionable at times.

The line-up of speakers and organizations listed on the flier were too enticing.  Simran Sethi introduced the event with a casual attitude and invaluable message that set the tone.  Organizations from around Kansas had come to speak about their projects relating to global climate change.  Their projects were about pragmatic solutions, ones that will help maintain, if not improve, the conditions of Kansasans across the state while addressing the most serious issues of today.

Support Wind Energy in Kansas
Support Wind Energy in Kansas

Eileen Horn from the Climate and Energy Project, and Dan Nagengast from the Kansas Rural Center discussed the potential for wind energy in Kansas.  What struck me most about these presentations, was their motives. They have a sincere desire to help the communities throughout the state by utilizing wind energy, and subsequently stimulating economic growth, in areas that have experienced traumatic population decline over the past couple decades.

Kansas ranks 3rd in the country for wind energy potential, yet falls down to 11th for actual production.  You don’t have to be an environmentalist to agree that this could be a serious source of income for communities that are seriously struggling right now.  The wind production will happen, but it’s left to be seen whether or not our communities will utilize this opportunity.  We have allowed oil wells and refineries to pollute our land and skies for the past century for the sake of economic development.  So, why are we so opposed to wind?

Kansans have developed this negative association with anything related to the environmentalist movement.  I can just hear my dad now, “well aren’t you just the biggest fern-fondler I ever seen.”  Yes, wind is more “environmentally-friendly,” but I support it based on the potential good it could do for our state.  This was the tone throughout the day: pragmatic.

So, why not wind?  Sunflower Electric would like us to think that it’s better for us to choose coal over wind or solar.  Yet, the Kansas Department of Health & Environment denied an air-quality permit for the construction of a new 700-megawatt plant in Holcomb, KS.

Coal=mercury, sulfur, carbon-dioxide…which lead to serious environmental and health problems.  I understand that this is a bit of an oversimplified statement, but one would be hard-pressed to legitimately promote coal as a sustainable source of energy.  Scott Allegrucci of the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy (GPACE) did an excellent job of objectively drawing a comprehensive comparison of the two sides: coal vs. renewable.  In the end, I felt well-informed about the issue and terribly frustrated that Sunflower Electric might be allowed to build a new coal-fired power plant.

So, in the end there were no acts of ecoterrorism, just an afternoon of informative speakers with encouraging projects and efforts.  Please take the time to check out the following organizations and do what you can to help:

Climate and Energy Project

GPACE

Kansas Rual Center

-Ashton Martin