Yes, renewable energy is more living-thing-friendly than fossil fuels, but given a choice, animals would probably prefer that we take our damn opposable thumbs and go back to living in caves. Wind turbines don't sully a hilltop the same way mountaintop-removal mining would, but they do have a footprint.

That's why a new study published in the journal PLoS One is such good news: It finds that there is enough already-disturbed land in the U.S. suitable for wind to produce 3,500 gigawatts of power. That's more power than is consumed by the entire U.S.

Disturbed land means agriculture, mining, oil and gas drilling, stuff like that. Maybe it's cold comfort that we've already wrecked so much of our natural land, but this, at least, is a way to put it to good use. And it means we shouldn’t need to sacrifice wildlife for wind power.

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