Responsible Resource Use

This article over at EETimes tells us the story of Pete Bethune, who is attempting to set a new world record for circumnavigating the globe in Earthrace, a 78-foot powerboat powered exclusively by biodiesel. Bethune hopes to promote the virtues of renewable energy through this effort. The article goes on to say that:

Earthrace is the vision and calling of Pete Bethune, a former oil exploration engineer and founder of a machine vision systems company, CamSensor Technologies Ltd. To fund the building of the boat, Bethune sold off his stake in CamSensor as well as some land he owned, mortgaged his New Zealand home to the hilt, and borrowed another $600,000 to ultimately contribute $1.2 million to $1.3 million to the project.

To help support the project, Bethune’s wife has gone back to work, leaving his two daughters home alone for a few hours per day. The sacrifices, Bethune acknowledges, have not always been easy.

“But I’ve put this together,” Bethune said. “I can’t back out now. I have to see this thing through.”

Mr. Bethune presumes to preach to the world about responsible use of resources while bankrupting his own family. He has put his daughters and wife in immediate danger of known and avoidable hardship in order to “raise awareness” of a potential future threat. Forgive me if I am less than impressed.

It is not Mr. Bethune’s vision of the future that I begrudge, but his lack of responsible action. Had he spent such resources promoting this effort as he could, without jeapordizing the security of his family, I would simply disagree with his conclusions and would likely not have posted an item related to his story. As it is, he is advocating policies which cause real and immediate harm to our society in the hope that it averts some potential future danger. This may be a popular position to take, but it is not wise.

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