Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.


Coal v. Nuclear. Or not.

This week's "Ask Umbra" column was really interesting, talking about which is the lesser of two evils on the power-generation front. As a geeky INTP, I loved her answer ("neither") not only because I think it lays out the bare fact that, in the long run, neither coal nor nuclear power are sustainable ways of generating energy for our planet....but also because it doesn't boil a complex situation down to black and white. Sometimes in life, things are not just black and white; it's not an either/or proposition, and choice must be made on a purely situational, individual basis.

I get frustrated with people looking for easy answers. Don't get me wrong, I understand the motivation there - easy answers are, well, easier. I want life to be simple and uncomplicated, too, because then I wouldn't have to spend time agonizing over what to do in every daily situation. I wouldn't have to spend hours educating myself about all sorts of subjects so that I can feel good (or less bad) about the decisions I wind up making. I would love it if life came with the straight-line plots of sitcoms and comic books, but the reality is that it just does not.

So, I find it really refreshing that Umbra, when confronted with such a sticky subject that seems to come up again and again among environmentalists, refuses to simplify it. Instead, she lays out why it's so complicated and why choosing either option is total crap. And then she gives some resources for trying to find a third option that works better and is sustainable. She's good.

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