×

Wind project off

To the Journal editor:

In reacting to the Huron Mountains area private wind farm proposal, some area environmentalist individuals and organizations mobilized loudly against the development.

Expressing wide-ranging concerns about potential impacts — temporary and permanent — to individual trees, birds, viewsheds and more, groups like the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition, Friends of the Huron Mountains and the Keweenaw Bay Tribe, etc., successfully drove away the potential developer.

While indeed there may be impacts from such developments that require mitigation, I cannot help but wonder if these respected groups missed a more important opportunity: the opportunity to lead our Upper Peninsula communities toward a much-needed paradigm shift.

With human-caused climate change already impacting our planet in dramatic ways, we cannot afford to waste time lodging campaigns that fight only against renewable energy development.

Frankly, that amounts to “Environmentalism 1.0,” and it’s no longer enough. We need to launch a more pro-active, visionary “Environmentalism 2.0” and most scientists tell us we only have 10 years to get it done.

When raising concerns, it is now imperative that activists simultaneously fight for the changes we need. In the Huron Mountains project, for example, if the proposed location for the turbines wasn’t good enough, the skillful way to direct activist energy might be toward securing a better site, bringing in a solar developer, shifting the investment toward roof top solar on a massive scale for area homes and businesses, or some other creative result that begins to implement the new paradigm.

We can’t expect perfection, but stopping a development is only a “win” if it simultaneously moves us away from petroleum and toward cleaner local energy.

If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always gotten. On their Facebook page, UPEC recently stated, “UPEC & FOHM are not against renewable energy.”

“Not against” is a start, albeit somewhat lukewarm, but it hardly qualifies as advocacy. It’s time for us to let go of the old gray-haired “just say no,” “not in my back yard” style of activism and move toward a more holistic, proactive approach.

Anything less than that and we are effectively pawns of the fossil fuel industry, helping them wage their pro-status quo war toward climate disaster.