My Turn: On energy, looks are not the only issue
Re “Answer in the wind?” (Monitor Forum, Oct 4):
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So is ugly.” Such a truism is much too simplistic when debating the merits and demerits of our sources of electric energy. All of our senses plus intellect and reasoning should be in play.
Give some coal to a child. Explain how coal is created, where it is found, how it is recovered and how it is brought here. Describe how coal is used to generate electricity and its many other uses for the benefit of civilizations. Ask the child to look closely at the coal, feel it, smell it, taste it and listen to it. Watch the child’s expression of interest and wonderment.
Do the same with our other sources of electric energy. Give a child some oil, some natural gas, some water. As you explain those things about them, watch the child’s expression of interest and wonderment.
Give a solar cell and a pinwheel to a child. As the sun hits the solar cell and the wind spins the pinwheel, explain how the sun and wind are created, where they are found, how they are recovered and how they are brought here. Describe how the sun and wind are used to generate electricity and their many other uses for the benefit of civilizations. Ask the child to look closely at the sun and wind, feel them, smell them, taste them and listen to them. Watch the child’s expression of interest and wonderment.
If you explain these aspects of our electric energy sources objectively and plainly to a child, the child will understand the merits and demerits of each and will “get it.” It’s much more than just a view of some solar panels on a rooftop or windmills on a mountain ridgeline or across an open field.
I’ve lived in New England for more than 40 years, 33 in New Hampshire. To me the No. 1 ugly scar on our pristine landscape is the many serpentine ski runs from mountain peaks to mountain foothills with pylons and chair lifts and condominium sprawl visible from interstates and rural roads from miles away. The No. 2 ugly scar is the plethora of golf courses around virtually every town and village, almost always along main roads. These were constructed by clear-cutting untold acres of forested land and displacing precious wildlife habitat. Yes, I’ve skied and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, I’ve golfed and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Lovely versus awful? Lanky beauties versus eyesores? Graceful versus environmental assault? Winged wonders versus horizon pollution? Should “Beauty or ugly in the eye of the beholder” be the overarching factor in debating whether sun and wind should be part of the answer to our quest for sustainable electric energy? I think not.
(Will Gran lives in Bow.)