Big Yellow Taxi

I happened across this AP story by Frank Eltman in yesterday’s newspaper: “Solar projects can’t save the forests for the trees?”

According to the article, several projects are currently in the works to cut down hundreds of acres of forest in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island and then build solar farms in their place. The executive director of an environmental advocacy group is quoted as saying that while it’s always preferable not install solar projects without removing trees, “of all the potential options, there is nothing less impactful on the environment than putting in a solar farm. That’s the real world we live in, and they have a right to develop it.”

Can this world get any stranger? Apparently, like the Vietnamese city of Bến Tre, the environment has to be destroyed in order to save it.

Here’s a thought: What if we installed solar farms in Arizona and other places not densely forested, where the sun shines all day, every day, for most of the year. And in places where the opposite is true, like Long Island, with its miles and miles of coastline, we could experiment with alternative energy sources tailored to fit their unique geography, like tidal power.

Surely this not a new idea, so what is going on? How could any responsible government official even look twice at a proposal to deforest hundreds of acres in favor of solar panels? Political expedience? Corruption? Misguided community pride? Or both, e.g., someone with an ownership stake in solar ventures looking to make money with a project long on eco-trendiness but short on viability?

Does no one in power think that common sense is smart? Or is willful ignorance just part of the human condition.

On a lighter note along those same lines, here’s Joni Mitchell singing the song of this post’s title. It seemed like an appropriate finale, and I love Joni Mitchell, so . . . 🙂

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
This entry was posted in Life, Nature, Political Analysis, Technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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