In order to be truly sustainable, solar panels must offset the harms done in their creation and disposal, as well as enough energy to replace themselves at the end of their lifetime. Not only are solar panels not sustainable, but they likely never will be.
All honest environmental activists will feel despair at some point. The solution isn’t to run from it, or repress it, or deny it. There’s only one way to deal with despair, and that’s to go though it. We have to feel our feelings. Despair can be a teacher. It can lead us to a greater wholeness, more compassion, and a deeper sense of purpose.
We’re deniers every time we say “80 percent by 2050,” or even “80 percent by 2020”; every time we refer to tipping points in the future tense; every time we advocate substituting “clean” energy for “dirty” energy; every time we buy a squiggly light bulb or a hybrid vehicle; every time we advocate for cap-and-trade, or even a carbon tax; every time we countenance the mention of loopy geoengineering schemes; every time we invoke the future of our children and grandchildren and ignore the widespread suffering from global climate disruption today.