Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2013


Great Plains Research 23.1 (Spring 2013).


Copyright © 2013 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


As we grapple with climate change and pollution, resource scarcity and rising prices, it's clear we need to make difficult choices about our energy consumption. In the opinion of many, the solution begins and ends with increased investment in renewable energy systems, an investment that will help us cut back on emissions and lower prices-while creating economic opportunity here at home. Ozzie Zehner doesn't share that opinion. His critique of modem American environmentalism in Green Illusions maintains that many of us could be wrong.

Zehner begins by addressing the seductive nature of renewable energy systems, dissecting popularly circulated solutions, and arguing that we are nowhere close to finding a technology capable of moving us past the fossil-fuel-intensive lifestyle we've chosen. From solar panels to wind farms, biofuels to clean coal, he shows that each "solution" isn't a solution at all. In fact, each is part of the problem.