Monday, February 4, 2013

Deepwater Wind

Note: versions of this letter have been sent to The Block Island Times and the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I encourage you to write your own letter. The Army Corps of Engineers is taking public comments until Feb. 10. Please ask that a full Environmental Impact Study be done on the Deepwater Wind project.

I am writing to express my public opposition to the Deepwater Wind application to build a wind farm off Block Island. I have hesitated expressing my opinion in a public forum so far because, while I am opposed to corporate control of our energy, my primary objection has been emotional, grounded in what I at first thought was aesthetic dismay—I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing those windmills on the wild ocean, but which I realized on further contemplation was a belief that this wild seascape was sacred and should not be altered for the short term needs of humans in transition as industrial capitalism makes a last attempt to buttress a failing system that has put short term profits over the long term interests of all creatures sharing this planet.
From what I’ve observed about the political process in my lifetime, emotional reactions are usually more detrimental than helpful. However, after reading the letter published in last week’s Block Island Times by David Lewis, in which he eloquently merged his emotional reasons for opposing Deepwater Wind with the intellectual, I am moved to add my voice to what I hope will become a growing opposition before it is too late to stop this project.
As David Lewis said, many other voices have expressed their opposition for a variety of reasons. What I would like to add is a call to stand up for something sacred, which in my definition is something that should not ever be bought and sold. We are living in perhaps what is the end of an era where industrialized humans see themselves as the center of the world, a position of arrogance which we have used to justify ecocide and the genocide of cultures who live in closer alignment with Earth and its millions of other non-human residents than we do. I say the end, because there is a good possibility, backed up by scientific evidence for those who need it, that we are rapidly creating conditions which will be inhabitable to human life.
While green energy like a wind farm may sound like a solution to this problem, it must not come at the expense of the wild. As a student of permaculture I learned that sustainable systems are created by assessing the energy available in a particular place and then creating methods to channel that energy to meet the needs of everyone in the system—people, plants, and animals. Basically the way humans lived before industrialized capitalism took over the world, and a way of living in accordance with natural cycles so eloquently documented by Thoreau in Walden. Even in the 19th century Thoreau felt a need to escape civilization, writing words that seem prophetic now as we face not only the destruction of our biosphere, but the destruction of the sacred in each one of us if we allow the wild to be destroyed. “In wildness is the preservation of the world,” Thoreau wrote, creating space for hope. It is my hope that others will join me in protest of Deepwater Wind, and in envisioning ways of producing—and consuming—energy that are truly sustainable and local.

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