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Page added on January 9, 2017

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Photovoltaics: cultural rape?

Alternative Energy

Those of you who can read French may be interested in this rant by Nicolas Casaux at

http://partage-le.com/…/le-desastre-ecologique-renouvelabl…/

Apparently, the government of New Zealand financed a large PV installation in the Tokelau island, somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The plant is backed up by lead batteries, so it can provide 24/24 power to the islanders. (some 1400 people). That allows islanders to have TV, high-speed Internet, and mail ordering from Amazon and Ebay.

Casaux takes all this as the reason for a screed in which he rants against renewable energy for several paragraphs, then compares PV-ization of the islands to their conversion to the Catholic religion. Basically, it is a “cultural rape” that has left the islanders dependent on a sophisticated technology of which, according to him, they had no need, having been self-sufficient for centuries and happy to bake the fish they capture wrapped in bamboo leaves, rather than in aluminum foil.

I don’t say that Casaux is wrong; on the other hand, I am a little uneasy at a Westerners who claim to be sure that those islanders were happier before having PV without having asked for their opinion (It doesn’t appear that he asked). I find also objectionable to use the title “renewables ecological disaster” when clearly there has been none.

On the other hand, the piece is interesting as evidence of a widespread negative attitude against renewable energy (at least in the West). It raises also a legitimate point: how is renewable energy going to affect our lives? My impression is that most of what’s being said about this matter simply derives from the refusal to accept change, of any kind. But it is clear that the diffusion of PV is going to bring many changes – and big ones. And these big changes won’t take place only on the island of Tokelau.

So, take a look at Casaux’s post (maybe with the help of Google translate), and maybe you can comment on it on the Cassandra blog.

 Cassandra’s legacy by Ugo Bardi


21 Comments on "Photovoltaics: cultural rape?"

  1. penury on Mon, 9th Jan 2017 12:18 pm 

    Is it really against re=newable energy? or is it about how humans always consider a “new” method of doing a thing as superior to the “old” way even if the old way does not use a scarce or non-existant resource in the society that we are attempting to assist by replacing available items with items the people must pay “dollars”s for.GDP must be served/

  2. rockman on Mon, 9th Jan 2017 12:32 pm 

    “…they had no need…” So were the islanders forced to use the new tech or did they choose to take advantage of it? Last time I saw the definition of rape it was forced compliance.

    So is it consensual electricity or not? LOL.

  3. yoananda on Mon, 9th Jan 2017 4:50 pm 

    what is the islanders mean IQ ?

  4. peakyeast on Mon, 9th Jan 2017 5:32 pm 

    The question is also: Is the islander population steady or growing.

    If they all used the mentioned leaves would there be enough today? What about other local resources?

  5. makati1 on Mon, 9th Jan 2017 6:02 pm 

    yoananda, what does IQ have to do with anything? If it did, then Asians would rule the world, not the stupid Westerners.

  6. dave thompson on Mon, 9th Jan 2017 7:02 pm 

    How long before the battery storage system needs replacing? At what cost and to who?

  7. makati1 on Mon, 9th Jan 2017 7:07 pm 

    This is like giving a poor family a five year supply of food, not mentioning that there will be no refill when it it is gone. (About the life of those lead batteries) Just long enough to change their way of life and expectations. Cruel and inhuman punishment in my book.

  8. Davy on Tue, 10th Jan 2017 3:33 am 

    If these people were untouched then I would show some concern. These people are already using fossil fuels. A small amount of renewable energy is surely not rape. The place is blessed with sun so they are a solar sweet spot. Fossil fuel resupply could be an issue. Lights and communication are important for emergency services on an isolated island. Maintaining a solar system is less difficult than keeping an internal combustion engine running which if you go to their website you see that they have. If these people care they will avoid consumerism that the internet might bring. It is obvious they have visitors so they are taking advantage of tourism. How is the internet worse than tourism? I don’t see the point of this article. Nicolas Casaux is a dumbass pseudo journalist spouting off distorted blame and complain which is typical everywhere today. How’s that Ugo?
    http://www.janeresture.com/tokelau_islands/

  9. Kenz300 on Tue, 10th Jan 2017 9:34 am 

    Wind And Solar Now Cheapest Unsubsidized Electricity Sources In The U.S.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/4031497-wind-solar-now-cheapest-unsubsidized-electricity-sources-u-s

    Cheaper WINS !

  10. rockman on Tue, 10th Jan 2017 5:13 pm 

    Mak – “…what does IQ have to do with anything? If it did, then Asians would rule the world, not the stupid Westerners.” And if it weren’t for the discovery of whiskey we Irish would be ruling the world.

  11. Antius on Tue, 10th Jan 2017 5:59 pm 

    This would seem to have nothing to do with solar power and more to do with damage inflicted on people by technology in general. There is little doubt that TV, internet, cars and mass production have inflicted severe damage on the western world. Have the plus sides been enough to compensate?

  12. makati1 on Tue, 10th Jan 2017 8:05 pm 

    rockman, did you know that it was the English that had the bad reputation for drunkenness in the past history of the UK and not the Irish? I learned that just recently. The internet is a wealth of trivia.

    BTW: My mother is Scotch-Irish, and her side of the family were immigrants in the late 1800s. My father’s side came from Germany by way of Austria in the early 1700s. So, I am a distant European, unfortunately. But, knowing my family, and some of the names on the family tree, I am sure there are Asian and African country’s blood in my veins. lol

  13. JR on Wed, 11th Jan 2017 8:16 pm 

    Funny how our opinions are actually worthless.

    We don’t live there.

  14. GregT on Wed, 11th Jan 2017 9:50 pm 

    “These people are already using fossil fuels. A small amount of renewable energy is surely not rape. ”

    There is no such thing as renewable energy Davy, but you already knew that.

    An entire generation of kids will become reliant on these temporary technologies, will eventually forget their cultural heritage, and in doing so, a sustainable future.

    Same as it is here in (North) America.

  15. Davy on Thu, 12th Jan 2017 5:19 am 

    I know that Greg. We are on the same page. How about introducing a new term that does not bother you and I will use it. How about falsely renewable but kind of renewable but definitely alternative to fossil fuel energy? Let me know if that works.

  16. Cloggie on Thu, 12th Jan 2017 5:38 am 

    rockman, did you know that it was the English that had the bad reputation for drunkenness in the past history of the UK and not the Irish? I learned that just recently. The internet is a wealth of trivia.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1182373/Welcome-binge-Britain-Polish-photographer-documents-years-drunken-revelry-Cardiff.html

  17. Boat on Thu, 12th Jan 2017 9:21 am 

    Thank god some parts of culture die. A battery operated drill is much better than a hand crank. Need I go on?

  18. GregT on Thu, 12th Jan 2017 10:30 am 

    A battery operated drill would make a terrible hammer without electrify to charge it Boat. A brace and bit will work anywhere, even under water, and will last forever. I have a brace in my shop that was handed down to me from my great grandfather. Still works as good as the day it was manufactured. (Some time around the turn of the last century) You’d be lucky to get 15 years out of a cordless drill.

  19. Davy on Thu, 12th Jan 2017 11:05 am 

    Yea, Greg, I am collecting old tools myself for the same reason. There are plenty of good deals at second hand stores. I have also bought some new (old style tools) on-line.

  20. Boat on Thu, 12th Jan 2017 11:39 am 

    In today’s construction you would go broke using a hammer. It’s nail guns and screws. It’s chop saws and skill saws. I recently ran about 400 yards of ditch. Try doing that with a shovel. Put sheet metal and a tin roof on a barn with a screw driver. Lol You guys live in a dream world.

  21. GregT on Thu, 12th Jan 2017 12:04 pm 

    None of what you said above changes the fact that you can still use those old tools the same way that they have been used for well over a century Boat. The same cannot be said for those new tools. Most have a lifespan of a couple of decades at best, before they end up in the landfill, and require the continued availability of non-renewable resources.

    It is you who lives in a dream world Kevin.

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