Brian Fitzpatrick

Gustaf: “If you’re willing to, yes.”

This isn’t journalism, it’s advertising.  Free advertising, because the Swedish tourism industry didn’t pay a nickel for it.

Thompson:

A city of nearly 79,000, Växjö is a pioneer in green living, cutting carbon emissions by 30 percent per person in 15 years while still growing its economy. The crown jewel: its power plant that once burned oil.

We learn that Växjö’s power plant runs on wood waste, and that Sweden plans to free itself from imported oil by making synthetic gasoline out of wood.

Thompson:

Wood waste goes from truck to conveyor belt to boiler. They need 30 times more wood waste than oil but it only costs 1/5 the price and produces near zero carbon emissions.

At this point an attentive journalist might ask, “Thirty times more wood waste than oil?  How many trees does it take to generate as much energy as a barrel of oil?  Where will all that wood come from?  Is it realistic to think we can replace oil energy with wood waste energy on a massive scale?”

But raising questions about green energy production isn’t the purpose of this story. Not when uncomfortable questions might interfere with reducing carbon footprints, minimizing the so-called greenhouse effect and feeling good about ourselves.

To her credit, Thompson is willing to acknowledge that making a green omelet means breaking a few eggs.

Thompson: 

Even here in Europe’s greenest city, some ways of life are much harder to change, like trying to convince people to ride on two wheels instead of four. The mayor thinks he knows how.

Mayor of Växjö:

You live with the whip and the carrot. The whip makes it more expensive to use fossil fuels and the carrot to make it inexpensive to use alternatives.

This environmental frenzy is getting downright dangerous.  A column in USA Today, “Might Our Religion Be Killing Us?,” suggests that religions are promoting overpopulation and thereby bringing environmental calamity. Going childless may become the new sacrament to the earth religion.  

The media need to bring balance and objectivity back into reporting on environmental issues, before the politicians needlessly start cracking whips on us all.


Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick, a writer, editor, and commentator on political and cultural issues, is the Senior Editor at Media Research Center’s Culture & Media Institute.

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