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"Nimbys and the Northern Pass" by Josh Trought, posted January 2011

The Northern Pass controversy is the latest New Hampshire distraction from the real issue of America's addiction to energy consumption. I recently received an unsolicited email that stated the proposed power lines would "dramatically affect our way of life." Instead of being accountable for our own actions we are blaming the providers of the energy. From my backyard, I look at the immense power lines that run south into Plymouth everyday and consider the electricity running through the lines every time I flip a switch. I am not an advocate of further power line construction. But the reality is we in New Hampshire are using more electricity every year not less. This perpetual growth in consumption is the problem. And the real drama is that our way of life will be affected by climatic change and the end of cheap oil.

Take, for example, the snow-sports resort industry. Well to do environmentalists routinely use the excuse of outdoor recreation to be chair-lifted up a mountain so they can point skis downhill and allow gravity to pull them back down to the valley on artificial snow and groomed slopes. These resorts are horrendous eyesores powered by distant oil fields, as well as nuclear and coal-powered electrical generation plants. In the name of sport we are wasting energy. Some folks will even get in an airplane to fly west in a self-absorbed quest for ideal conditions. Instead of choosing readily available exercise on cross-country skis, resort skiers receive instant gratification and adrenaline rushes from fossil fuel consumption.

So when folks get angry and complain about property values (notice the number of real estate agents and second homeowners involved as opponents of the project) I ask you to take a look in the mirror because we are all to blame. The problem is US. U.S. Because we are unwilling to compromise our "way of life" we engage in distant wars, shop at box stores full of Chinese products and get our food from Chile and California. Instead of taking responsibility for our consumption problem, we are choosing to blame others who are just responding in the traditional American way by supplying to the demand. It is similar to a drug user blaming the dealer.

If power lines are capable of producing " dramatic affects on our way of life," imagine the impact of global climatic change. The future of humanity is chosen by the decisions we make today and the power lines are just another distraction from what the focus clearly should be: a reduction of energy consumption. If we (NH citizens) don't want additional energy from Canada, then we need to invest in solar panels and wind generators. To reduce our dependence on imported energy we should become active members of solution oriented local organizations such as Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative and D Acres. Without taking positive steps to reduce our energy consumption, we will only have ourselves to blame for the serious ramifications. So instead of using your personal time and energy to protest, take steps to seek renewable energy alternatives and reduce your electric energy consumption.

Josh Trought is a citizen of Dorchester, New Hampshire and Director at D Acres of New Hampshire.


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