Sunday, February 24, 2008

Turn Turn Turn

After visiting the energy exhibit at the Texas History Museum, I thought I would be talking about oil...not wind. But I can't seem to get this picture out of my mind.

The area just before entering the movie portion of the exhibit featured the history of "Boomtowns". It talked about the first few oil strikes in Texas and the consequent squatters who took over the surrounding towns with their rigs - all desparately wanting their piece of the dirty pie. The background of the whole exhibit was enlarged pictures of towns filled with oil rigs. I thought it was a reproduction of the same city block over and over, but I was wrong. City block after city block went something like this - home, rig, store, rig, rig, school, rig, home. Needless to say, it wasn't the most attractive sight (not to mention potentially dangerous.) I looked at these "Boomtowns", then said to my good friend Erin, "and we have people complaining about ugly wind turbines out in the country."

The title linked article speaks about the complaints people have with wind turbines visually. It amazes me that people oppose clean, free sources of energy because they think it might not look pretty. Isn't that a little ridiculous? Americans sure have gotten spoiled in the past hundred years. I don't think most people wanted an oil rig in their backyard near Spindletop or Texas City - but I guess they didn't have much of a choice did they? The overabundance of regulations that exist today were unheard of in those times. Nobody was going to stop you from doing what you wanted to on your land. Nowadays, you have to get a permit to plant a tree in your own backyard...

I guess it goes back to that same old thing of freedom and individual rights as long as they don't infringe upon another's freedom. At what point do we have a say in what our neighbors are doing? In Florida, where my mother was raised, there was an unspoken rule that you didn't build privacy fences along the water. Everyone was up in arms when Northerners moved in and built a fence around their pool blocking the view of the beach and water. Why did they need a pool anyway?! Now there are all sorts of laws about what you can and cannot do if you live on the water.

The reason I bring up this story is that times have changed. I don't think energy developers are looking to fill every inch of our country with wind turbines. They are going to try and build them where wind is strong and steady. If that happens to be out in the middle of nowhere - great! But if by chance it is close to where I live - I want to be the first person to look out and feel proud my city is doing something GOOD. We should look at those pretty wind turbines and say turn turn turn...

No comments: