Friday, April 30, 2010

Wind is in the Air

A gray tree frog called from the woods while I weeded around the shrubs and the blueberry bushes. The tulips looked glorious in the setting sun. Strong winds kept the bugs at bay. A perfect spring afternoon in our yard.


Looking beyond the neighborhood things are far less sanguine. The winds worry the minds of my farmer friends at New Roots Farm. They lost one greenhouse and some other structures to the hurricane-force storm in February. So, whenever the wind whips up they get nervous, rightly so. Wind in recent days was blustery enough to prevent the laying of plastic, the precursor to planting crops. The greenhouses are full of flats of seedlings waiting to be planted. I wish I could blow the wind away.

Wind is in the news. Cape Wind -- the 130 wind turbine project in Nantucket Sound -- was finally approved, although lawsuits are sure to follow. Likely there are environmental costs, yet many opponents seem more concerned about the impact on their viewshed.

Cape Wind seems at first glance far more preferable to the Upper Big Branch mine that exploded, killing 29 men. And preferable to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that also blew up killing 11 men and which now threatens the ecology and livelihood of the Gulf Coast. And preferable to so-called "renewable" large-scale energy projects such as the proposed solar arrays planned for the Mohave Desert -- read Chris Clarke's blog here to learn more about those impacts.

Sometimes it all seems too crazy to think about. The tree frog and the tulips and the phoebe sitting on its nest under the deck offer a welcome diversion. My thoughts will turn back soon enough to energy. Perhaps a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is apt: "Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." I'm looking for those who've left a trail to a safer and more sane energy future, rather than an oily path leading from a blown rig to the coastal marshes of the Mississippi delta.

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