Saturday, May 1, 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill

No, I'm not talking about a hardscaping project outside (although that would be a good title for a post about a construction project where I use a power drill....  Hmmm... I should keep that in mind).  I'm posting today about the Nature side of my blog and the recent catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the recently approved Cape Wind Project.

The Cape Wind Project - a wind farm off of Cape Cod - is quite controversial up here.  Lots of people don't want it.  They worry it will spoil the view and no one will want to go to the Cape for vacation.  They worry it will disturb the local fishing industry.  The Environmentalists worry that it will harm local wildlife.  These are all valid concerns.

Wind Turbines (modern windmills) do kill large numbers of birds, especially during migration season when most birds migrate at night.  There are ways to mitigate the damage but it does do damage.

I'm not sure about the harm to local fisheries but the commercial fisheries up here are pretty much all in trouble and commercial fishing may not be a viable career choice in Massachusetts in the not-to-distant future.  The big problems?  Over fishing and pollution.  Clueless Gardener suggested making the waters around the Wind Turbines a fish preserve.  I think that's a great idea!  In the long term fish preserves improve fishing conditions in neighboring waters.  It's just hard for people who are living fish haul to fish haul to think long term.  They're more worried about the next mortgage payment or boat payment.  It's like if your boss told you they were going to cut your paycheck now so you'd still have a job in 10 years.  

Of course then I go to teach my class and look at all the adult faces (some middle aged, some older, lots with families and children) and see forward looking people who realize they need to change careers or improve their education for their long term financial situation.  Why can't fishermen do the same?  They are welcome in my classes.

I don't think tourism will suffer that much from "unsightly" wind farms.  Maybe some but maybe not.  It's not like a smelly, unsightly power plant that pumps clouds of pollution into the air.

And here's the kicker.  Look at the alternative.  Look at the Gulf of Mexico.  Their fisheries are probably all done for the year, their birds are dying in large numbers, as are their sea turtles and marine mammals.  Is THIS a viable solution?  More off shore drilling?  

Wind farms may not be the most popular solution but it is one way to loosen the grip that oil has on our society.  We need to diversify our energy sources for the long term good of both the planet and our society (how does getting free of the ties that bind us to the volatile Middle East sound?).  I'd really like to see an uptick in alternative energy sources.  Especially the greenest of them all.  Solar panels anyone?


  1. Hey, thanks for the link!

    Chris mentioned it only in an off-hand way in his post, but we got to see some similar turbines up in Michigan from his father's lakeside cabin. Spoil the view? I had to use a telescope to see them. They were distant, tiny, and kind of cool.

  2. From another Diana in Porterville South Africa. Yes we have solar powered hot water. Needs help from the electrical geyser now it is COLD.

    This country is working on wind power, we do have wind. But we also have coal, and a new coal-fired power station is going to be built with money loaned by the World Bank. We have sun, and wind. Where's the logic?