Opinion: Editorial stance on pipeline protest wrong

I thought the recent editorial claiming that protesters of the proposed gas pipeline are “inane” and “meatheads” was over the top, almost a parody of the way that the powers that be have always tried to portray those who offered a challenge to the status quo. (Historians can find the same kind of intemperate language used for abolitionists, opponents of Jim Crow, women’s rights activists, ACT-Up campaigners, and so on — though “meatheads” may date the author to a childhood in the 1970s, heyday of “All in the Family.”)

The real question, I think, goes like this: For a single day last month Germany managed to generate 74 percent of its power with renewable resources. This doesn’t mean such progress is easy: There remain problems with storage and grid management. But it does indicate that a sophisticated economy (arguably the strongest economy in the world) can supply its needs with renewable resources, and at our latitude. Given this, why do we want to install new fossil fuel infrastructure that will stretch out our dependence on hydrocarbons for another generation or two? Wouldn’t we be better off investing in a renewable infrastructure?

Name-calling gets in the way of straightforward analysis here, and straightforward analysis is exactly what’s needed.

Bill McKibben, Ripton

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