By Sharon Strimling
I am writing to respond to Doug Cabral’s At Large: The windy 10-year war of April 23.
I haven’t written about Cape Wind recently, but I need to step back in after reading that article.
First and foremost, I disagree with his contention that the project won’t get built. Cape Wind is fully approved and making solid progress with financing.
Secondly, I need to more broadly address his still tenacious opposition. I could perhaps read Mr. Cabral’s column, and arguments like his, more patiently if there was no urgency to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel energy, but we face a climate crisis. The shape of our Island, the kind of vegetation and fish that are native here, the very quality of life each of us will have for the rest of our lives, all hinge on the intensity of climate change.
This is mostly what I need to say, and repeat: There is no perfect renewable available to us. Our only perfect solution is to consume less: less new clothes, less new products, less processed, factory farmed and heavily traveled foods, less energy for our homes and travel.
Anyone who uses energy must only judge any renewable against what they are currently using, not against a vacuum. All renewables take their toll. The hazardous waste from photovoltaic manufacturing in China is poisoning their farmers and villagers – a nightmare that must be corrected. But we use PV with enthusiasm and dedication regardless because either we are unaware, or we are wise enough to compare apples to apples, downside to downside: the toll PV manufacturing takes is still dramatically less in scale than the horrors coal and oil are wracking on untold numbers of people and wildlife.
To be successful, to protect what we love and cherish, we must embrace and support any renewable that is less harmful than what we already have, and keep working our way up as technologies become better and better. Perfection is indeed the enemy of the good. If we wait for a perfect technology, that very concept will get further and further away as our situation becomes more and more dire.
The moment we are facing begs us to now choose progress over idealism, movement over stalemate, universal needs over individual ideology. It calls us to keep an eye to the larger imperative — with passion and strength of commitment.
Cape Wind will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 770,000 tons per year. That’s like taking 175,000 cars off the road. It is unequivocally one of many right steps in the right direction.
We need to move in that direction. Swiftly and Now.
Shameful view of Cape Wind
By Jill Murtha
Choosing the lovely metaphor of an anaesthetized colonoscopy regarding the Stop & Shop project set the stage for what I knew could not be any good news regarding your thoughts on the Cape Wind project [At Large: The windy 10-year war, April 23].
Shameful, really. When we have knowledge, and we don’t employ it, we are rendered obstinate. We have an energy crisis and have had one for a very long time. We have renewable and alternative energy making resources, and when we don’t plan for that, we seem unintelligent. Cape Wind is part of that knowledge.
I am always brought back to the notions of former president Jimmy Carter because, to me, he saw the facts about our energy crisis in the 1970s, presented a fair solution and predicted that, in fact, we would be exactly where we are today, which is nowhere when it comes to our oil consumption and energy production.
President Carter said, “Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the president and the Congress to govern. This difficult effort will be the ‘moral equivalent of war,’ except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy.”
The greatest principle of Carter’s plan was that our solutions must be fair. We must “ask equal sacrifices from every region, every class of people, and every interest group.” Conservation was the cornerstone, of course. Here, on what you termed our “remote (but not remote enough)” Island, where SUVs and contractors abound, I see a whole bunch of consumption and waste and very little, if any, conservation.
Of course Cape Wind has costs, and clearly they will be passed on to the consumer in some form, but the alternative, which is to continue doing what we have been doing, is disastrous to our future, our environment, and our economy.
The price of our electricity generation and infrastructure, from wind in this case, must reflect a “true replacement cost of that energy, because we only cheat ourselves if we make it artificially cheap and use more than we can afford,” according to Carter’s plan.
Seventy percent of our electricity yields from coal and natural gas. We are purposely making cars less efficient than they were 40 years ago. How can you talk about the footprint of some turbines, in the ocean, when on any given morning, you can watch the JP Noonan trucks get off of the ferries full of gasoline? This Island has almost become a poster child for a profligate footprint.
I agree that we should not give up, only I think that we should unite our efforts to do the right thing in terms of our energy needs.