Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wind and wealth on Nantucket




Every year for many years, we have traveled to Cape Cod and the Berkshires for vacation. Having heard from many people that Nantucket is beautiful, we decided to check it out.

I gotta say, I was disappointed. The admittedly gas- and money-guzzling ferry ride was quite nice, as evidenced by the sunset above, but next time, I'll save both and stay on the Cape. The scenery was okay, but I've seen more beautiful landscapes on the outer Cape.

Perhaps that's because the most beautiful scenery on Nantucket is all owned by private residents? While there, we saw the book Cape Wind in a bookstore. The book tells the story of the attempt to build a wind farm off Nantucket, and the efforts of wealthy property owners (here's their organization's web site), including Ted Kennedy, to block it. So far, there's still no wind farm.

What's ironic is that, as we were hiking a conservation area on the island, the sound of our voices was joined by the sound of frequent private airplanes flying in...at least 30-40 over the course of our 2-3 hour hike.



Now, I'm not an expert on wind energy, and in fact, I think that the best solution to mitigate the effects of the current and future climate crisis is to produce less and consume less, on an individual, societal, and global level. We should put our collective efforts into making that happen, rather than plundering our earth's resources even more for energy that is bound to run out at some point.

Meanwhile, though, it does make sense to seek cleaner sources of energy as we work towards that goal, and wind makes some sense to me.

And doesn't it seem rather self-centered that the very people who utilize the most energy, to fuel their private planes and maintain their 7,000 square foot homes, are in opposition to a new source of energy?

You see, they don't want to see the turbines in the distance, or to have their sailing disrupted. The property owners did recommend, however, that it would be fine for a wind farm to be sited in the Berkshires, another of our vacation spots.


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