I am not a NIMBY but more a NIOBY.
I consider myself to have a fairly extensive vocabulary in English. Yet, when I came across the word NIMBY about two weeks ago, I was at a loss. When I realized what the word meant, I was surprised it was meant to be derogatory. Why? If we all cleaned out our own yards, what a place this world could be! So I went and got myself a NIMBY (Not-In-My-Backyard) bumper sticker.
However, by and by I realized I see myself more as a NIOBY (Not-In-Our-Backyard). I completely feel for our neighbors who are having two industrial wind turbines forced upon their neighborhood.
Don’t get me wrong. Looking at my immediate surroundings, I am not overlooking the need for a global green solution for our planet. I try to do my own small share by recycling every little tag, by reusing, conserving, by composting. I do recognize the need for alternative energy.
When my husband and I visited California a few years back, we drove through a desert towering with hundreds of wind turbines. It was breathtaking. I took picture after picture. They were so beautiful! But would I want to live next to one? No, absolutely not. And why should I have to?
Refusing to have one of those giants in your backyard doesn’t mean that you are against green energy or that you endorse oil and fossil fuel companies. Wind turbines are beautiful – when seen from faraway and that is where they should be built.
There are other sources of alternative energy that are more suitable to be near people, such as solar panels. Why don’t we try to put some of these up around the town and find a remote location for the wind turbines. And what if we can’t find one in Fairhaven? Well, maybe Fairhaven is not a suitable place to erect wind turbines.
I believe that Little Bay certainly isn’t it. It is a sanctuary enjoyed by not only those fortunate enough to live nearby but also by those venturing there on their bikes, skates, feet and paws.
I live in the center of Fairhaven near the beginning of the bike path. I see people from all over, coming to enjoy the beauties and benefits of that trail. Go there early on a summer morning, follow the little detour near the DPW leading to Little Bay. You will see fish jumping out of the water to get out of the reach of a bigger fish, crabs climbing the rocks, birds singing and swooping to catch their breakfast. You will feel overwhelmed with a strong feeling to protect this little piece of paradise. Doing it by erecting a wind turbine right next to it will be the last thing on your mind.
Let’s look at our town and community. Let’s look at what we value. Let’s forget about what neighborhood we live in. Is it the Center, North or East or are you the “Necker” or “West Islander,” do you live in Little Bay? We are all neighbors. Let’s all be NIOBYs, and be proud of it!
Monika Whalley lives in Fairhaven.
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