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…..