Visual Resource Stewardship Conference

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-27-2019


This plenary presentation summarized the principal landscape challenges and opportunities that accompany the human need for energy. Drawing from 50 years’ examining what I call “energy landscapes,” this presentation focused on land use conflicts resulting during the development of four types of renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, hydro), fossil fuels (mainly coal), and nuclear power (particularly siting of waste repositories and the decommissioning of generating stations). Many of the challenges derive from inherent resource characteristics, some from differences to cultural mores and histories, varying public perceptions of risk and fairness, demographic patterns, as well as jurisdictional and political differences. Many of the opportunities to better manage landscapes will result from more meaningful and calibrated public involvement, the growth of demand in developing world and totalitarian countries, rising worries about personal and national security, competition for water resources, and climate change. Recommendations are offered as to how to move forward, given these challenges, to simultaneously meet our resource needs while serving as caretakers of landscape quality. This paper is more of a reflective piece and does not include all of the original plenary content.