Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The people-problem with progress - "Wind farm fight splits Cape Cod"

Although my blog at is typically about photography and I try not to soap-box, I couldn't resist commenting on this story on CNN:

Nine-year wind farm fight splits Cape Cod

The U.S. just went through our worst economic downturn in decades. People were complaining about our dependency on foreign oil, the high price of gas, we use too many fossil fuels, how are we going to solve this problem, this is the worst it's been since the 70's, oil is really why we went to war, my SVU uses too much gas, etc, etc, etc.

Everyone made a big deal about the energy crisis. It was a major presidential election topic. We pledged to use alternative energy. We elected a forward-thinking president. Then what happened? Very little...

But in my opinion, what makes this situation a lot worse is when mostly acceptable solutions like solar power and wind power stare the U.S. and other countries in the face and we turn our backs on them again and again. Many other oil-guzzling countries do the same thing...

Why can't the U.S. learn something from the successes that other countries have achieved with alternative energy?

An example of this problem is this Cape Cod wind farm situation mentioned in the article above...

Even considering the minimal (in my opinion) impact to a limited percentage of ocean views from certain points of Cape Cod, why would reasonable people object to an energy solution that could supply cleaner power to 75% of a major chunk of the Northeast US?

The U.S. needs to learn some lessons from other countries that have embraced alternative energy and the differences that it has made. I saw this first hand on my recent trip to Germany where there are wind farms on top of the peaks of many of their remote valleys powering the small towns down in those valleys. They don't look intrusive. In fact, they look kind of cool. Like giant sentinels protecting and watching out for the towns below...

The U.S. has a real opportunity to make a showcase of this Cape Cod wind farm and how successful it can be, and we're blowing it because people are concerned about a small impact to their views.

This is the people-problem with trying to make progress. People often can't see the forest for the trees and major progress gets held back because of that. It's time for the U.S. to put up or shut up with regard to alternative energy. This project is a prime example of how we can move forward and demonstrate how effective a completely acceptable and feasible large scale alternative energy project can be.

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