Nuclear power is an interesting issue. The fear of it is real. A 2007 Zogby poll found that only 17% of Americans knew no one was killed in the Three Mile Island accident. In fact, the president, Jimmy Carter, visited the site shortly after the accident. Carter was a nuclear engineer for the Navy and had assisted in a previous accident in Canada, he knew what was up. When you ask people how many people died in Three Mile Island you get a wild range of answers.
Yet nuclear has a lot of benefits, many of the biggest challenges of nuclear in the U.S. are political not substantive. It’s still intensely controversial.
In this interview in Persuasion Mark Lynas discusses nuclear power in the context of climate change and environmentalism. If you’re the kind of person who wants to see less reliance on coal and gas, doesn’t want to see wild rivers dammed and coastlines and ridges full of windmills, or fields of solar farms everywhere, you don’t have a lot of places to go other than nuclear. Lynas likens it to a magic wand.
Lynas makes the point that in some circles in the environmental world supporting nuclear can be career distorting or ending. The other day I mentioned that I try to encourage young people to cultivate a social circle broader than their work for exactly this reason.
But we should ask here in eduland, what are our magic wands? What are things that people think would radically change the education landscape but are reticent to speak up about? Fiscal equity in school finance, school choice, phonics based reading instruction, a constriction of collective bargaining in K-12 public education, are four that come to mind. I know different people who agree with those sorts of reforms but say that they do not speak up because their fellow travelers don’t, and it would cost them.
Obviously, there are no magic wands in education (or silver bullets as everyone is fond of saying) but there are policies that might have real positive impact.
What are they for you?