I have learned through my grapevine that the leaders of an organization called the Green Schools Alliance (GSA) have decided to reject the suggestions of parents who wanted to include a showing and discussion of Pandora’s Promise in the program of a planned conference on Green Business. According to my sources those leaders told the conference organizers that GSA cannot be affiliated with a film that promotes nuclear energy because it is committed to not taking positions on such controversial subjects.
People who have decided to apply the silent treatment to a technological tool have taken a position to oppose the use of that tool. Without information, no one would be able to make an intelligent decision based on facts and analysis.
Nuclear energy is clean enough to run inside sealed submarines. According to peer-reviewed study by James Hansen and Pushker A. Kharecha published in March 2013 titled Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power:
Using historical production data, we calculate that global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCO2-eq) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning.
Not only is fission virtually emission-free, but it is also capable enough to allow power plants that can supply electricity to a city of a million people to run for 18 months on about three truckloads of fuel. In a period of about 20 years, France built enough nuclear power plants to almost completely decarbonize its electrical power system. Most of the electrical power needs of its 65 million people are provided by just 58 nuclear reactors.
It seems self-evident that people who are deeply concerned about the environment, climate change, energy sustainability and environmental justice would want to learn more about the impacts of using nuclear technology to serve human needs. It also seems self-evident that people who have dedicated themselves to the task of educating young people would want to make sure that those young people and their teachers have access to as much information as possible about the world that they will inherit.
Even if people determine, after study and discussion, that their concerns about the issues associated with nuclear energy are so overwhelming that they would prefer to avoid its use, it seems almost incomprehensible that educators would decide that the best approach to the topic is to stop talking and to censor information so that students and teachers do not even have the opportunity to learn and decide for themselves.
I grew up with a passion for protecting the environment. Both Mom and Dad grew up on farms during the Depression. Our family vacations were spent camping in National Parks and National Forests where we hiked, fished and swam in lakes and rivers. We recycled before it was fashionable; Mom and Dad even taught us to recycle kitchen scraps into a compost heap. Dad kept rabbits in our suburban backyard as part of his recycling program; he fed the rabbits products of his garden and fruit trees and then used the products from underneath the rabbit cages to fertilize the garden and fruit trees. Those lessons have shaped my behavior ever since.
Even though Dad worked for the power company, he taught us to be conscious of our electricity use and to turn off lights and appliances when they were not in use. He was the guy who first stoked my nuclear energy interest when he told me that the new power plants that his company was building near Homestead, Florida did not even need smokestacks. I was about eight years old at the time, but I still remember that conversation and the many that followed over the years.
Mom was a high school teacher, one of many in my family of school teachers where learning, reading, observing and discussing were highly valued. The idea of educators shying away from any specific topic because it is too controversial simply floors me.
Based on what I have learned on the site of the Green Schools Alliance and in the below video, the organization is doing good, important work. Please join me in an effort to help them understand that they are making a bad decision by choosing to censor information about nuclear energy.