“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”

Posted On Jun 2, 2022 By Addison Wiggin

At Stanford’s 2005 commencement address, Steve Jobs gave a shout-out to author Stewart Brand.

Jobs was imploring the best and brightest in Silicon Valley to “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”, the title of the final issue of Brand’s famous Whole Earth Catalog.

Brand sure was a busy man.

He was certainly hungry, and some might say he was foolish. A world renowned environmentalist, he lobbied NASA to photograph planet earth so that humans could see the planet’s warts and all.

He even pushed the creation of Earth Day in 1970.

Fast forward half a century and Brand remains evermore relevant to climate change conversation.

Long an opponent of nuclear power, Brand converted and became one of the biggest proponents.

“Nuclear was a switch,” stated Brand in an interview with The Guardian. “I had been somewhat against it. I’m so strongly for it now that even if climate change wasn’t an issue, I’d still be pushing it.”

When asked about his change of mind Brand responded,

Primarily climate. Nuclear produces almost zero greenhouse gas. Coal is the principal villain right now. We’d looked at it mainly in terms of what it did to the landscape, in the States especially, where we’ve turned the Appalachian mountain ranges upside down and dumped the tops in the creeks. That’s been a strong green issue for a long time, and needs to be even stronger. But we hadn’t really looked at the waste stream coming out of coal, especially compared with the waste stream coming out of nuclear. And that contrast is what started to drive me to look more closely at nuclear and realize that I had been misled on many of the specifics.

With all the talk about climate change, renewables seem to get all of the attention.

Wind, solar and water.

But do these sources meld enough energy to power our consumption of electricity without carbon fuels?

By all appearances, Bill Gates doesn’t think so. He’s betting on nuclear power to fill the gaps. In fact, he’s betting so much that he co-founded TerraPower, a nuclear power plant in the remote outskirts of Wyoming.


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