When the history books (or e-books) are written about the twentieth century, one of its legacies will be the impact that we inflicted on the air, water, and forests around the world. And when the history of the first decades of the twenty-first century is documented, it will either describe mankind’s universal effort to stem the damage, or the irreversible downward slope that we embarked on that will fundamentally change life as we know it.
Protection of the environment has always been challenged – by “progress”, by perceived job creation, and by luddites who refuse to believe established scientific facts.
New Jersey has within it a microcosm of these debates. Businesses that have investments in dirty technology downplay the environmental effects to maximize short term profits. Politicians who benefit from the contributions of these businesses contend that any regulation automatically means loss of jobs.
The New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club has been a voice in Trenton for protection of the environment. I spoke with their Director, Jeff Tittel, earlier today.
In the first part of the interview (below the fold), Tittel talks about some of the issues and challenges being debated in Trenton, including hydraulic fracturing, the Governor’s abandonment of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, renewable energy such as solar and wind, and the impact of the Oyster Creek nuclear plant and other factors in the Barnegat Bay.