Nik Butler: Logical fallacies are polluting useful conversations

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001

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I wondered when the other shoe might drop and there it is; billions of barrels of oil lay under Sussex.

The licences to slice Sussex are quickly approved. Just when those villages in our beautiful garden state thought they were safe from further development the plot twist occurs.

Was there ever a certainty that many of those rural green field areas were going to be protected from new industry? Because property developers are trumped by energy companies. At this point many of those with apathetic, or possibly positive, feelings towards fracking and oil exploration will be shouting at the page; ‘where else will we get the energy from?’ or they will with exasperation declare ‘but Solar and Wind companies are financially aided’.

What they will not have considered is that Energy companies also receive subsidies, tax breaks, and benefits for their work in recovering the oil.

Further the need for energy in terms of electrical energy can be met well enough with modern renewable forms of energy collection.

However as most of the arguments against are based on 20 year old information we face an uphill struggle changing some views around.

What amazes me in this conversation about conservation and energy usage is how easily the logical fallacies build up; polluting a useful conversation with dismissive rhetoric. There is a palpable anger that occurs when you encourage people to consider investing in renewable energies. I caught a small amount of that attitude when I listened to our councillors debate the North Horsham development. Many of them quickly moved to dismiss the need to ensure that the housing and offices made best use of solar energy. Again many of their views tracked to information that would have been consistent with technology from 20 years ago.

Today we can print solar cells as kids’ projects in science fairs. They use printers you could purchase from Staples.

We should not so easily dismiss how quickly the South of England, or Horsham District, is being divided up and sold for foreign investment. It may be easy to bicker over the value of renewable energy versus the prospect of ‘just burning things’ for energy.

But as we are wrapped up in the debates those drills and those wells will come in and with it, despite all promises for strong regulation, the inevitable damage to this counties water supply and its green and pleasant lands.