One thing I have told myself I will never do in an argument is to call someone a ‘blank-ist’ to label their view for cheap argument winning points. It could be calling someone a communist, socialist, leftist, conservative or environmentalist. It’s hard to do and I probably slip-up but man does it shit me when I hear other people do it.
When others do it, it’s bad enough but I have never understood how a person could choose identify themselves as say, a socialist or conservative. Personally, I couldn’t stand the thought of someone else doing my thinking for me or have my personal ideology mapped out for me by a bunch of people who are likely dead – not to mention white or male or limited to being literate – and often all three.
It applies to both sides of politics. For one extreme, lets take a supposed ‘environmentalist.’ Let’s say I want to advocate for green power. I’m using this example because I’ve worked in the industry for a few years. This means that my opinion comes with a bias, but I then again, how annoying is it to hear someone push an opinion they’re not an expert in? The world has enough of that. So the environment it is.
If you install solar panels on your roof, it produces a DC current that travels to an inverter which converts the current to AC so it can be fed to the meter to be used to make coffee, watch television or keep beer cold. The inverter is the only part of the installation with any moving parts and there is little to no maintenance required over the 25-50 year life of the system, depending on the brand. Of course it took resources to make the panels and petroleum to transport the installation equipment and the installers however the system will recoup its many losses in around 4 – 7 years, depending on the location.
Consider an alternative. Dig up some coal in Queensland or WA, transport it, refine it, repair the machinery every thousand hours or so, transport it again to the power station, burn it in the LaTrobe Valley, transmit it to Melbourne and hopefully that lump of coal made it all the way. That’s not to mention the enormous volumes of drinking water used to keep the power station cool versus the low voltage fan on the solar inverter.
I don’t need to call anybody any ‘isms’ or subscribe to any particular ideology to advocate for solar power. Solar power is a 21st century method of mass-producing power. We don’t need to burn so much coal. We can use calculators and a pen and pencil. We can drive cars and ride horses. It’s just over time we move from more of one to the other. And, on that topic, it will be coal, gas and oil companies who will be best resourced to move from this generation of power production to the next. Keep an eye out for how many solar inverters have ‘BP’ printed on the cover even at our present moment.
People tell me that solar power will never produce enough power to provide base load power for Australia and 1) that’s not true, 2) it doesn’t need to, 3) nobody have ever said it needs to and 4) the argument to prove it one way or another is based on arithmetic, not ideology.
To take an entire argument for the pros and cons of certain types of power production and barsterdise it down to the ideology if the parties involved is an absolute insult to human intelligence.
Whatever your personal opinion on green power is, I hope it is based on your own research and fact, but please have the decency and humility to respect that my point of view comes from my own experience and research of having worked for an energy company and assuming that I’ve inherited some kind of ideology that leaves me incapable of thinking for myself.
Guest Author: San Kirk Patrick