In one view, we can consider everything as unborn, uncreated, and therefore not subject to destruction or decay.
In another view, we can and do wreak a great deal of mischief and misery with all the best intentions.
Depending on causes and conditions, anything can happen. No matter how hard we try, we cannot completely manage all the possible causes and conditions. We can, in theory if not in fact, completely screw up everything.
When people were deciding to drill holes in the Gulf of Mexico in order to pump up oil, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I am certain there are tens of thousands of pages of environmental impact reports, engineering studies, and the like, all of which rubber stamp the notion that there is no problem.
Turns out there is a problem.
In most whorehouses, if you pay a little extra, you can get the girls to say, "I love you," and this they do quite convincingly. Even though you know it is not true, and even though you have paid for the service, they have the ability to make you believe that which is inherently unbelievable. They are able to do this because you have already suspended rational expectation; you have asked and agreed to be deceived, and in this vacuum, they tell you what you so earnestly want to hear.
Human beings are like that, you know?
As a people, some time ago, we made the decision to protect our lands and the cohabitant creatures we seem to endanger by our very being. We set aside whole regions to these ends, and we designated numbers of creatures as being of "special interest." We wrote laws to accomplish this, and funded huge agencies to enforce those laws.
Except now, in our frantic belief that we must embrace what we call alternative energies -- so-called because they are an alternative to oil -- we are going around breaking the faith with our lands and our creatures. We are deliberately circumventing the laws we made, and the environmental protection policies we established, in pursuit of what we believe is a greater good.
In order to accomplish this, we are paying a little more to hear what we want to hear. Yes, this wind project will impact several protected species, but here is a mitigation plan. Yes, this solar project will impact a protected area, but we will re-quantify its beauty along lines of accommodation.
Bright lipstick. Dark eye-shadow. Long lashes. Languid eyes.
"Baby, you know I love you?"
We have companies of convenience that come together for a project and then disappear. They are supposedly staffed by "applied biological consultants," "visual resource specialists," and a host of other, instant experts in expediency. They inhabit a shadow world, and speak a shadow language. They count endangered species, or examine endangered views, and then tell us how the damage we intend to do can be "mitigated."
I want to tell you this -- with all of the attention currently being given to the company responsible for the oil spill in the gulf, I believe we are missing the real guilty parties -- we are missing the environmental shadow speakers who made the travesty of offshore drilling possible in the first place.
It may not matter very much to you in the great scheme of things, but here in my little corner of the world the scenario is playing itself out again, in a largely ignored plan to generate 84 megawatts of electric power by means of the wind. Because this is happening in the desert, nobody pays it any mind. After all... deserts are, well... deserts, aren't they?
"Desertification" is an ugly word we use to describe the negative effects of man's abuse of the environment. The very concept reflects our subliminal feeling about deserts as wastelands. However, "desertification" has nothing whatsoever to do with the actuality of deserts, which are pristine eco-systems, teeming with beauty and life. Well, at least they are until we desertify the deserts. Properly speaking, desertification is the deterioration of arid biomes brought about by human activity.
In America, today, we are preparing to deliberately deteriorate our deserts because we believe -- or we have been led to believe -- that by so doing, we serve a greater good. We are willing to believe that solar power and wind power will somehow lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. We are willing to believe that destroying our deserts is an acceptable trade.
Here, in my desert, the proposed wind project will negatively impact no fewer than fourteen species of special interest -- to include Golden Eagles: the very symbol of America. It will result in the loss of over 2,500 acres of "federally protected" tortoise habitat. It will negatively impact precious groundwater supplies in ways we cannot foresee, placing enormous strain on already fragile and overburdened aquifers. It will not produce any local employment, it will not result in lower energy bills for local residents. The 84 megawatts this project produces will be sold to Nevada, where it will power the colored lights of Las Vegas casinos.
Is this just? Is this what we want? Is this what we need?
Years from now, when all is said and done, there will be no sudden, dramatic episode -- like oil billowing from the ocean floor -- to demonstrate our wrongs. There will be no oil-soaked wildlife, or destroyed beaches. There will be few left to mourn the passing of America's unique, arid lands, because there will be few who remember -- fewer still who care.
There will only be forests of spinning white towers with blinking, red aeronautical lights, and the flickering and flashing that comes at sunrise and sunset. There will only be plains of mirrored silicon, pointed at the blinding sun.
The faded presence of the beings we destroy -- of the raw beauty we defile -- will reduce us as a nation, and as individuals, and we will be demons of our planet. In such event, whether we are to be pitied or feared is a question nobody wants to answer.
It is time to think about less... not more.