Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I came out here to be alone

(Sandy) Sandall says he doesn't oppose wind power. He gets his electricity from solar panels and from his own relatively tiny wind turbine mounted on a 50-foot pole. But rows of white massive white poles, topped with blinking lights and propeller blades that make a "whoosh" audible from several hundred yards away — that's another thing. Sandall remains unconvinced by assurances that the sound won't be noticeable from farther off, and that it won't hurt property values.

"I'm 72 years old. I came out here to be alone," said Sandall, who is part of a citizen group, Residents Opposed to Kittitas Turbines. "I have no objection to alternative energy. This is just not the place."

My American generation – “Gen X” and the following, will surely exceed the Baby Boomers in narcissism and selfishness, and blind destruction of the globe, given the chance. Yet the likelihood of this scenario fades as energy depletion fundamentals lock in and feed back.

The United States has spent one trillion dollars, those are energy bucks, on the Iraq war instead of plowing one trillion energy bucks into investments renewables like wind, solar, and active conservation technology.

Imagine the standing of the United States in the world if the latter project had been embarked upon. Instead, the following artifacts have been left in the wake of the Iraq war - spent shell casings, pollution, and dirty pictures. Kind of like the Moon shot but without the Teflon frying pans.

That is the spirit in which I bemusedly maintain a casual intolerance for the opinions of people like Sandy Sandall, aging boomers who happily exist in the world they believe in, ignoring the reasons why Big Wind is important to the survival our species.

We all made it for years, ignoring the blood soaked oil from Nigeria, the incestuous cronyism that marks the relationship of the United States with Saudi Arabia and their medieval kingdom, (another example of the depredations which seemingly unlimited oil wealth can prop up).

We all made it for years, thinking we could dump soot and carbon into our air without limits.

Now a need exists to tap the steady wind of the Columbia River Gorge, and regions like it around the world.

Naturally a few local crybabies refuse to acknowledge their complicity in the created world and the created problems therein. They blubber about the view, and property values. A final spastic episode of Nimbyism played out by actors who believe they still have selfish options in a small and shriveled world.

Being alone – “I came out here to be alone” – is a luxury, not a birthright. So this becomes then a nursery tale, a child’s fable. Piss on the world all ones life, consume resources and carbon fuel from six continents, and the world will have her revenge.

Welcome to Gold Rush territory, Sandy. You are not alone.

Paper Thin Walls
Modest Mouse

These walls are paper thin
And everyone hears every little sound
Everyone's a voyeur, their watching me
Watch them, watch me right now
They're shakin' hands, they're shakin' in their shoes
Oh Lord, don't shake me down
Everyone wants two themselves
And half of everyone else who's around
Its been agreed, the whole world stinks
So no ones taking showers anymore


At 1:35 PM, June 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a different take on the opposition to wind power. Although wind is one of the most benign of alternatives, it too has its side effects. There will be people and environments who will suffer from them. This doesn't mean that wind power is "bad," but it suggests that demonizing opponents is not the most enlightened of strategies.

As long as we are as piggish as we are now about energy usage, wind power is not a holy cause to which all other considerations must be subordinate.

Similar arguments about NIMBYism will and are being made about opponents of nuclear power, coal, dams, etc. If you look beneath the surface, the anti-NIMBY argument is basically about externalizing costs, asserting the right to damage the environment in which someone else lives.

I have become more and more sympathetic to NIMBYism over time. There's no one else who is going to be as concerned about Your Backyard as you are.

I think what turned me around was hearing an anti-NIMBY argument at an environmentalist website from someone who flies private airplanes.

BTW, as a Baby Boomer, I should point out that a 72-year-old is not a Baby Boomer. Quite the contrary, he was born in one of the least fertile years of the centuries (1933 was the year that set the record).

Anyway, Jon S., I agree with 99% of what you post... and enjoy it very much. Take care, Bart

At 12:51 AM, June 29, 2007, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Hi Bart, thanks for stopping by and dodging the tumbleweeds. I'll spruce the place up again after the summer with a new coat of entries. (Yes, I miss my blog)

You are right, I completely whiffed in labeling Sandy a Boomer - although he would have been ten in 1945, so he is kind of a tweener, not a "greatest gen" nor a boomer, but the life he has lived, like my father who also worked at Boeing, is emblematic of the Boomers, if I dare read between the lines and assume he traded in a comfortable middle class dwelling in the greater seattle area for a cozy home and one of the best pensions left in America for tenured workers.

Bully for all that, but I am not giving him permission to retire in the world that existed 25 years ago, and I am not giving him permission to avoid pondering how his choices finally effected the gleam of windmills in the distance. (Ok so I tried to avoid demonizing him by stating my intolerance was for his opinions, but I stir in strong rhetoric, I need take care to dial back the rancor)

I'm saying, as much as Sandy would like to live in a comfortable shell, he happened on a place in the commons that belongs to everyone. He won't get any sympathy from me (obviously) talking property values with his gaze fixed to the ridgeline. I happen to think he is wrong on points in any case - in 5 or 10 years, the regions that invested in wind will be regarded as virtuous rather than a nuisance (as they are in this current peakish age of energy gluttony and waste)

Finally, I agree with you on NimbyIsm - - I should have avoided that theme because the value of it in many instances in the context of my own beliefs outweighs the negative sense in which I was using it - kind of hypocritical.

At 10:35 AM, June 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a luxury, to be able to discuss something with someone one mostly agrees with! From whom one can learn something.

I guess what interests me most is how to form alliances with people previously seen as opponents. Concern for the local environment (aka NIMBYism) is a unifying value, one that can be shared by all ages and political groupings.

Wind power is inevitable - the economics are so compelling. It will have powerful lobbies behind it, so I don't feel that it needs that much help.

About inter-generational warfare, I dunno, for some reason it makes me smile. Maybe because it's a prime example of a granfalloon? Fun to talk about, but not really meaning much. I tend to sympathize with generations other than my own , especially older ones.

The head of a peak oil/sustainability organization made an interesting observation: almost all the funding and volunteers seem to come from the Baby Boom generation. Not sure what that means.

One bright side -- in a few years, the older generations won't be around any more. Already at 57, I feel as if the drama of my life is at the bottom of the third act, that a new cast of characters has taken over.

Energy Bulletin

At 1:29 AM, July 01, 2007, Blogger Big Gav said...

Welcome back MG - hope the saucer trip was fun.

And 57 isn't that old Bart - you still think young - you are one of the few people in your generation I've ever been able to communicate with...

At 10:50 AM, July 08, 2007, Blogger Peterbart said...

I guess the heart of the issue is the continued reluctance on the part of the populace to sacrifice in some way to change our unhealthy relationship with cheap oil. People will rebel against the inconvenience of it all, and they will likely do so until oil prices rise somewhere north of $100/barrel (as they inevitably will). Voluntary measures are nice as far as they go, but until the pain of our current misadventure is really felt, only small changes will be forthcoming. The question is whether it is we who will stand up and do something about the mess we find ourselves in, or whether mother nature will just change the environment on us allowing a different set of life forms to thrive. Time will tell.

At 12:31 AM, July 12, 2007, Blogger Trinifar said...

Bart, I'm about your age and agree with your thoughts as expressed here. Monkeygrinder, you highlight the right thing in my view: we don't get to freeze the world at the point we wish, whatever our age. In particular, available energy per capita is going to be decreasing for a long time to come. Those that internalize that sooner are going to have an easier time of it that those that don't.

At 1:55 AM, July 12, 2007, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

thanks for the comments all,

I want what anybody wants - energy too cheap to meter with no consequences.

Maybe we get cars, maybe we don't.

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