Reynolds promotes nanotechnology for Earth Day

Foresight advisor Glenn Reynolds opines about nanotech in the NY Post for Earth Day:

MIT’s Vladimir Bulovic calls nanotech a potentially “disruptive technology” in the solar-energy field, offering a complete shift from today’s fossil-fuel environment…

Nanotech offers dramatic improvements on the side of energy consumption, too: As computing and other devices become smaller, they become more efficient – and nanotech will allow drastic improvements in both size and efficiency.

Nanotech is starting to yield super-strong, super-light materials, too. Imagine how much more efficient a family car could be if you cut the weight in half, even if you kept burning gas. But nanotech is also likely to produce better batteries and better motors, meaning that your lighter car may also be electric, powered ultimately by those nanodot solar panels.

All of these things are in the works now to greater and lesser degrees, but they could happen faster if there were more research and development support.

Ultimately, we’re probably better off putting our energies into promoting cleaner, more advanced technologies like these than in trying to get people to reduce the scope of their lives through “hair-shirt environmentalism.”

Hair-shirts have always had their fans, but have seldom been widely adopted. On the other hand, most people would like to lead cleaner, better, more efficient lives. Why not give ’em what they want, and help the planet at the same time?

A focus on cutting energy consumption with today’s technology isn’t going to make much of a difference. Let’s work on replacing current tech with something better, instead.

Let’s try for the win-win scenarios. —Christine

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