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Sacrificing the Sanctity of Land at the Altar of Energy

Charles W. Johnson — Times Argus — April 13, 2015

Something big is missing from our public debates about industrial wind turbines on our ridgelines. It’s something never talked about in testimony to the Legislature or at legal hearings on the subject. It’s almost as if it’s a forbidden topic. Yet it’s one of the most important things in our lives. Love. In this case, love of the land.

In our social and legal systems, we usually treat land as a collection of values or a bundle of rights. By such thinking, the land has no inherent value beyond its use to us. It possesses “natural resources,” commodities really. Even Act 250 works on this principle, with its eight criteria (wildlife habitat, water, aesthetics, etc.) that must be considered in development proposals; the basic tenet being that if you protect the parts, you protect the whole.

But land is more than an assemblage of parts, more than a bunch of resources. By analogy, the Sistine Chapel is not just the addition of all the pigments in Michelangelo’s paint, the arms and legs of the figures, the vault of the ceiling. A giant redwood is not just its bark, trunk, needles and majestic form. You could put a McDonald’s in the Sistine Chapel and it wouldn’t hurt the physical place; you could put an advertisement atop a redwood and it would still live. It’s not about what we can do, but what we should. It’s about sanctity.  Continue reading here…..


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2 Comments on “Sacrificing the Sanctity of Land at the Altar of Energy”

  1. andreasmarciniak April 14, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  2. Sommer April 16, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    Wow…finally someone has expressed what I am feeling about the absolute insensitivity of placing these massive intrusive turbines in settings that are sacred. Thank you Charles W. Johnson.
    The irony of ‘saving the earth’ by ruining rural people’s lives is so seriously lacking in common sense. What kind of people made these ridiculous decisions.
    Rural people did not consent to being subjects of this experiment. Destroying the ‘deep silence’ of the countryside with both audible and inaudible sound that severs a person’s sense of connection to the sounds of nature and the deep relaxation one can feel in a pastoral setting is a profound violation.

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