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Nuclear Advocacy: Patrick Moore advocates nuclear energy

Patrick Moore advocates nuclear energy

By Jared Raney, jared.raney@iowastatedaily.com

White caps churned around a small rubber boat in the North Pacific as the small crew maneuvered through the waves following a pod of whales. The raging ocean would have been enough to make any man turn back, but the water was the least of the crew’s concerns as they looked back at a fleet of huge Soviet whalers, towering hundreds of feet above, hot on their tail.

The year was 1975, when members of the soon-to-be-famous, radical environmentalist movement called Greenpeace took to ship in an effort to stop Soviet whaling in the North Pacific. Members of the team daringly maneuvered a small rubber boat in front of a Soviet whaling fleet as the ships chased down a pod of whales.

Among the team that made their way into the living rooms of America was Patrick Moore, longtime environmentalist and Greenpeace co-founder. Today Moore is not associated with Greenpeace, but he has not stopped his tireless pursuit of environmental awareness.

Patrick Moore is on a new crusade to change the world, this time not on the front lines of the environmental movement but in the offices of politicians and the echoing caverns of university lecture halls, inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists to save the planet. His new path brought him to Iowa State on Wednesday, Sept. 12, to speak on the realities of climate change and the future of sustainable energy.

Moore has become what he describes as a “sensible environmentalist,” relying on science and logic rather than catering to the fear and sensationalism that, in his opinion, has overcome the environmentalist movement.

“One of the biggest ironies of the environmental movement today is that they are basically … opposed to the two most important renewable sources of energy in the world,” Moore said, referring to forestry and hydroelectric energy. Both of which are major contributors to the energy payload, and which, Moore said, radical environmentalists seek to shut down.

“Maybe you should be better about how you manage the forests, maybe you should be better about how you manage hydro-dams, but to just be against the two largest sources of renewable energy … that doesn’t make much sense to me as an environmentalist,” Moore said.

Moore is now working with the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, a group that raises awareness about energy conservation issues and is a big proponent for nuclear energy. Moore said that when Greenpeace started there was a lot of fear directed toward anything nuclear, but he has come to see that such fear is irrational. Moore has received ample criticism for his new direction, from Greenpeace and other members of the environmentalist community.

Moore, who has a doctorate in ecology, began his environmentalist career when he joined a group of environment-conscious individuals who were at that time meeting in the basement of a local church. After a few powerful demonstrations against nuclear testing, whaling and several other protests, the group became Greenpeace, one of the biggest environmental movements even today, 40 years after its inception.

Moore grew up in Winter Harbor on Vancouver Island, which is a small community known for their fishing and logging practices. His father was a prominent figure in the logging industry, and Moore grew up with an intimate knowledge of forestry. He eventually enrolled at the University of British Columbia and soon discovered his passion for ecology.

When Moore joined Greenpeace, he was one of the only members with a scientific background, and after 15 years on the front lines, he decided he could not support the direction Greenpeace was headed, a road he describes as “shifting from science to sensationalism.” For the past 25 years, he has worked as a consultant for sustainable energy practices and written several books, including his most recent “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout.”

The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition’s goal is to “ensure an affordable, environmentally clean, reliable and safe supply of electricity.” Moore believes that sustainable energy is the most important environmental issue that we face today.

“[CASEnergy] gives me a vehicle to do what I think is right,” Moore said.

CASEnergy’s biggest push is for an increase in nuclear energy, which in their view should have continued to develop over the past decades, instead of meeting resistance from groups like Greenpeace. They believe that movements against nuclear testing have lumped nuclear energy in with nuclear weapons, a fear they believe to be irrational. Moore said in his lecture that if nuclear plants had been developed strategically nuclear power could currently provide 50 percent of the U.S. power consumption.

“There’s no time like the present to get back on track,” said Moore.

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