Cape Wind, a move in the right direction


To the Editor:

I am writing to respond to Doug Cabral’s At Large: The windy 10-year war of April 23.

I haven’t written about Cape Wind recently, but I need to step back in after reading that article.

First and foremost, I disagree with his contention that the project won’t get built. Cape Wind is fully approved and making solid progress with financing.

Secondly, I need to more broadly address his still tenacious opposition. I could perhaps read Mr. Cabral’s column, and arguments like his, more patiently if there was no urgency to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel energy, but we face a climate crisis. The shape of our Island, the kind of vegetation and fish that are native here, the very quality of life each of us will have for the rest of our lives, all hinge on the intensity of climate change.

This is mostly what I need to say, and repeat: There is no perfect renewable available to us. Our only perfect solution is to consume less: less new clothes, less new products, less processed, factory farmed and heavily traveled foods, less energy for our homes and travel.

Anyone who uses energy must only judge any renewable against what they are currently using, not against a vacuum. All renewables take their toll. The hazardous waste from photovoltaic manufacturing in China is poisoning their farmers and villagers – a nightmare that must be corrected. But we use PV with enthusiasm and dedication regardless because either we are unaware, or we are wise enough to compare apples to apples, downside to downside: the toll PV manufacturing takes is still dramatically less in scale than the horrors coal and oil are wracking on untold numbers of people and wildlife.

To be successful, to protect what we love and cherish, we must embrace and support any renewable that is less harmful than what we already have, and keep working our way up as technologies become better and better. Perfection is indeed the enemy of the good. If we wait for a perfect technology, that very concept will get further and further away as our situation becomes more and more dire.

The moment we are facing begs us to now choose progress over idealism, movement over stalemate, universal needs over individual ideology. It calls us to keep an eye to the larger imperative — with passion and strength of commitment.

Cape Wind will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 770,000 tons per year. That’s like taking 175,000 cars off the road. It is unequivocally one of many right steps in the right direction.

We need to move in that direction. Swiftly and Now.

Sharon Strimling

Oak Bluffs