Turtuga Blanku interviews Alan Weisman

I am promoting the use of renewable energy through this website and my music. But there are a lot of other people out there also doing something in their own special way to contribute to solving environmental problems. I ask each interviewee only five questions.

Eco-feminist and environmental activist Vandana Shiva is followed by Alan Weisman. Alan Weisman is an (international awards winning) American author, professor, and journalist. His most recent book is the critically acclaimed The World Without Us, which describes a post-human scenario of the planet. He is also a senior producer for Homelands Productions, and Weisman’s documentaries have aired on National Public Radio (U.S.A.).

1) Save the earth…why?

Why not? It's rather beautiful.

2) What, in your opinion would be the most realistic way to solve the climate problems we are facing?

We can't expect to solve them if we keep burning fossils. Unfortunately, we are pretty addicted to things like electricity and motor-driven propulsion, and there's no adequate substitute for fossil fuels that can meet the scale of our demand for concentrated energy. I don't know if we'll ever find one -- solar and wind have well-known limitations, and nuclear isn't really carbon-free when you factor in all the mining and maintenance (and, it poses other obvious problems).

So I suggest that we lower energy demand by reducing the number of people on earth, by having only 1-2 children per family from now on. (If we follow Vandana Shiva's suggestion and grow all our food organically, we'll probably have to do this anyway, as without artificial fertilizers -- which are fossil-fuel-based -- we could only feed about 60% of us. That's a start.)


3) Do you think that anyone can be -or has the personality to be- "green"?

We all require plants, soil, water, and an atmosphere with the chemical composition that allowed us to emerge in the first place. We're all "green" whether we like it or not. Everyone who claims otherwise is in deep denial, because they're really deeply frightened about the environment. Frankly, we all are, and with good reason. But people with courage will keep trying to find ways for us to live in harmony with the rest of the planet, because we can't live without it. The ones who take the lazy way out by claiming that we don't have a problem are cowards, and that's how their children and grandchildren will remember them.

4) How do you think music can contribute to protecting the environment?

Just as birdsong makes a morning beautiful, the music we humans produce is one of the best things we can offer this planet. I can't imagine a world without violins any more than I can imagine a world without trees. Music alone is a reason to do whatever it takes to keep us from going extinct -- and to insure that, we'll have to save the rest of the ecosystem, because our survival depends on it.

5) And finally: who would you recommend to also ask the questions you just answered?

Absolutely everybody.

Thanks a lot, Alan!

In Turtuga Blanku's 5Q-interview series so far:

1) Award-winning eco-expert Simran Sethi.
2) Environmental photojournalist Gary Braasch.
3) Saxophone playing physicist turned journalist Alex Hutchinson.
4) Ecocity Builders' President Richard Register.
5) M*A*S*H actor Mike Farrell.
6) Filmmaker and sound designer Velcrow Ripper.
7) Environmentalist and agricultural activist Vandana Shiva.
8) 'The World Without Us' author Alan Weisman.


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