1. Rod, thank you so much for this, and for the comments on my blog. We’re seriously geeky, but we didn’t actually get into materials requirements for the different technologies, letting money subsume those issues. However, we just played it straight…VPIRG said they expect 28% of Vermont’s energy from wind turbines. So we asked: where will these turbines be (only the high ridges) and how many turbines and how much will it cost? Also, by the way, no country in the world is above 20% wind power (Denmark) and they have serious grid problems, but are closely tied into all of Scandinavia. How is Vermont gonna be 28%?
    Right now, I am terrified. We planned this press conference for right after the bike-riders leave, so the press will be around. The bike-riders. A bunch of students from Middlebury College are riding their bikes from Montpelier to Burlington to ask the gubernatorial candidates in Vermont to promise 100% renewable, affordable energy for the state. (Yeah, I don’t get it either.)
    The bike riders are having their press conference on the steps of the Statehouse from noon to 1, and then pushing off for Burlington. After they leave, two pro-Vermont Yankee legislators are sponsoring OUR press conference at 1:30 in the big Cedar Creek room inside (where most press conferences take place). So there ought to be plenty of newspeople in attendance, if only as a follow-on to the hoopla on the statehouse steps.
    Well, that’s the good news. The bad news is we are a bunch of geeks. Howard and I have been talking to the rest of the group, reminding everyone: This is about renewables! We studied renewables! You don’t have to answer any loaded questions about Vermont Yankee! You can just say that we are here to answer questions about our report. But we are not, as a group, tremendously media-savvy and I am a little scared.
    There’s always the possibility of fist-fights too (just kidding). But “our” legislators warned us of ways the anti-VY legislators might try to prevent us from using the meeting room. I think that is squared away, though. I think it is going to be okay.

  2. Rod Admas wrote:
    Those boring engineers and scientists are MY KIND OF PEOPLE. They are the one that I want in my lifeboat when trying to survive a shipwreck and the ones that I want on my island if my four hour cruise turns into a long running sit-com.
    I remember it as “a three hour tour”.
    It is always difficult to counter a feel-good campaign with cold, hard facts. Those who are technical and numerate will “get it”, but those most taken in by the feel-good aspect will not, and need to be approached differently. I imagine something that works in video, but also works as a series of stills. The first shot is mom and dad inside paying the power bill (stack of money shown) and the kids playing outside. The next scene is the same, but now the stack of money is bigger, and there are solar panels and wind turbines in the background outside. Perhaps the kids look a bit shabby as well. Mom and dad comment about how “they didn’t tell us how expensive this ‘free’ power would be.” The next shot is just before sunset. The stack of money is taller yet, as mom and dad discuss how they didn’t tell us about how expensive batteries are. The kids are looking shabby and dejected as they survey their broken bicycle. The last picture shows a still taller stack of money. The scene outside is renewable power hell, with wind turbines and solar panels everywhere. Mom and dad, now at a bare and beat-up wooden table, discuss how yet more turbines and solar panels are needed charge the batteries. “They didn’t tell us about that”.

  3. One way to get media attention is to be seen to be unafraid of consequences because your conscience is clear that your point is right.
    One thing I organized way back when, when McDonald’s had not lived up to their 1987 promise to stop using hamburger containers made with ozone depleting chemicals because by 1988 the entire foam industry had negotiated a deal with the national environmental groups that everyone would ignore the renaming of one class of ozone depleters from CFC to HCFC because ostensibly the HCFCs were less harmful, (just like today where the groups are touting gas over coal because of less GHG), anyway, I went to the local high school and told the kids if they wanted to do something about this they could make the TV news by surrounding a McDonald’s saying they were doing this to protest, without paying attention to anyone threatening to clear them out.
    The kids thought I would be the spokesperson if and/or when the media showed up but I said I would just be behind them as an onlooker. I said whatever they were going to do or say had to come from them. If they actually believed McDonald’s should have lived up to its promise which they made in the international media spotlight surrounding the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, that McDonald’s was going to have nothing to do with the destruction of this element of the planetary life support system, i.e. Earth’s UV radiation shield, the kids would have to figure out what to say and do.
    I told them what the media were likely to buy into. I had experience with McDonalds and the ozone issue – for distributing leaflets explaining the situation outside one of their outlets, I had been dragged away by police. I told the kids this may happen to you, although I doubted it. The McDonald’s they hit couldn’t call in the police – these were sincere 15 year olds who were well informed who believed they were right. They made the network TV news, and were proud of themselves. The demo contributed a tiny bit to the public debate at that time in that place, which is about all anyone can expect. I’d say history shows they were right, although I suppose some of the climate deniers who frequent this blog would say even ozone depletion science was and is a complete crock of BS.
    Anyway, I’m suggesting get involved with some kids. They are likely to be far more likely to want something done about climate than older people, and they might just understand and be favorable towards nukes, especially if the fact that nukes are carbon free is brought home to them. As I understand it, antis and pro nukes in Vermont are not making climate an issue when it comes to VY. Climate is an issue when it comes to VY. That reactor puts out more juice than the entire output of all the solar PV that went into Germany under the fantastically expensive feed in tariff in ten years.
    The frame is kids are in favor of nukes, subframe all the adults don’t get the real issue which for kids is climate. If kids risked arrest to make that point, it seems likely to hit the news, and the point is worth making.

    1. I have been thinking about this a good deal. We have all these people bike-riding against Vermont Yankee, etc etc etc. I want to organize some pro-VY activities, and this is a useful idea. Which probably won’t be exactly what we do…
      By the way, Rod, thanks for the notes on the Brattleboro paper. I don’t want to answer because it seems so defensive when you answer an article about yourself. However, don’t get sucked in too hard. There’s this guy, Mike Mulligan, who writes at length anti-VY in that paper, and a person could have a full-time job answering him.

      1. Obviously VY is totally different. The venom in the anti doing anything about climate types was just not present in anyone I ever came across when I was involved with the ozone issue, and I wonder about the anti nukes who dump manure. I’d have to feel out the situation on the ground before I’d involve any kids.
        Maybe a few kids with a geiger counter, or whatever is better, (borrow from sympathetic radiation research profs) could show up outside VY near the proverbial fencepost as close as they can legally get to the reactor without permission, take some readings, then wander around Vermont and compare. They invite the media to put a camera on them, or they make their own videos and invite the media to watch, and they ask the media why they don’t put it on the air to show the people of Vermont.
        Every time the kids find a more radioactive place they send in another video with two clips: one is them finding radioactivity at the proverbial fencepost outside VY and getting visibly worried about it, followed by a clip showing them as they find way more radioactivity where they never expected it to be given all the BS uproar over what’s coming from VY. The measure the water in the river, then they measure the water coming out of taps that can’t possibly be getting radioactivity from VY.
        They take readings inside the Vermont seat of government. (If the Vermont government building is more radioactive). They measure the radioactivity outside and especially inside places the anti nukes like to gather. If there is a coal plant in the state go there, its got to be more radioactive. If there is any fracking for gas going on go there. Eventually they might go to the US Capitol where, if the US Army Corps of Engineers can be relied on when they say working in the Capitol adds 85 mrem to anyone’s dose, ( http://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/fusrap/docs/fusrap-fs-radfusrap.pdf) the kids could show themselves thinking about what it means if the lawmakers think nothing of exposing themselves to this while they pass laws requiring the nuclear industry to care about people 1,000,000 years from now being exposed to less. Kids stick microphones in front of anti nukes for comment as kids measure the radioactivity of the place where they are, cut to another kid explaining what she’s learned about where that radioactivity comes from, back to anti nuke for comment.
        I don’t know, just a suggestion.

    2. Must we resort to using children/kids to promote a technology that works due to its inherent superiority and demonstrated ability over 50+ years to produce what we want and need — reliable, affordable, on-demand, zero-emission electricity? Particularly at a time when the UN IPCC is unraveling, rightly or wrongly, and the public sentiment is trending against warnings of impending climate catastrophe, it would seem a weak argument and cheap theatre to use under-18 year olds to advance the benefits of keeping VY open.

      1. @DocForesight – what is wrong with having people who are not yet 18, but who are concerned about their futures, participate in the discussion about energy sources. I recall being an active and involved citizen well before my 18th birthday. Heck, I had been in the Navy for 6 months before I turned 18.
        I ran my first petition drive when I was still in middle school.

      2. I guess when nuclear looked finished in the 90s the fact that “the public sentiment trending against” it proved that all the evidence that shows nuclear power is worth pursuing was wrong.
        Foresight argues that what matters is what the crowd thinks at the moment, because of what appears might have happened, as opposed to what is true, or what is actually believed by the relevant scientists.
        If we find young people who want to pitch in to help us because they believe in what we are doing, we should discourage them, and take back things like that CSPAN grand prize awarded to those pro nuke kids who so warmed Rod’s heart he blogged about them April 30.
        Stephen Chu has said: “if you look at the climate sceptics, I would have to say honestly, what standard are they being held to? It

        1. @David – you bring up an interesting point. I have often tried to make it clear that I favor engineering over esoteric science; I want to put scientific knowledge to work in serving human needs. However, I have not made it clear enough how much I respect and admire experimental scientists who also want to put their knowledge to work. Some of my greatest heroes are people like Enrico Fermi, Leo Szilard, Dixie Lee Ray, Bernie Cohen, and Glenn Seaborg.
          Steven Chu is quickly moving onto that list.

  4. Rod, I’ve never considered YOU boring. Of course it’s not about projecting geekdom over the land, but the content of the message: renewables-equals-fossil. And our Comrades in Vt. need to emphasize THAT reality.

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