We ought never to forget that we are living on the delicate, not very thick skin of this big ball of rock, and if we somehow mess it up too badly, everyone and everything is going to die. Now that I’ve depressed you, the good news is that people are now far more aware of the environment than they were when I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s.
But we are still not aware enough. And here’s the problem. We have lots of people who think that they are true environmentalists doing their part to save the world because they put their plastic bottles in the recycling bin. Sometimes they even remember not to put their aerosol cans in the trash.
On the other hand, many of us have encountered radical environmentalists, one of whom once told me that I was the moral equivalent of a Nazi because I had central air conditioning.
One thing you learn covering politics is that insulting people is generally not a good way to win votes. I’ve heard far too little about environmental policies from any of the presidential candidates. That’s because their advisors don’t think it wins votes.
I am very glad that Governor Jennifer Granholm cares about renewable energy. She has done us all a service in raising awareness of the potential of wind power.
But raising unrealistic hopes may actually backfire. Last week I talked to Skip Pruss, the governor’s special advisor on renewable energy. I was skeptical of the governor’s claims that our push for wind and solar power could generate 19,000 new jobs.
Pruss assured me that was a correct figure. And he said that many of these jobs would be