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Rural island charm  

Credit:  Craig Hockmeyer, marthasvineyard.patch.com 14 May 2012 ~~

So for my first-ever blog post I might as well take on a subjective, volatile subject that I’m passionate about. Some might even say “obsessed”.

Rural Island Charm. What is it? Does it matter? How or why do we preserve it? My journey started with the fight against Big Wind. I personally feel that filling the view off our southern beaches with a large-scale industrial wind farm would be ugly. And as I looked into the logistics of the utility, I discovered that the investment of money, fossil fuels, damage to the environment and wildlife are not worth the small amount of un-reliable power that the wind farm might provide. Balance that against the visual assault of wind turbines flickering our sunset, and it’s an easy decision for me. No Big Wind- it’s a scam and a rip-off and an ugly development that doesn’t do anything to actually reduce fossil fuel useage.

Then along comes the Roundabout. Seeing the plan proposed last September, I recoiled at how over-blown the proposal was. A full-scale, off-island style traffic device with signs, splinter islands, and 4 ADA approved bus stops with 80 feet of 12 foot-wide concrete on all 4 corners. “…this really looks like off-island” I said to the MVC. The intersection has had a small-scale, rural traffic light since day one, and somehow the MVC never considered updating that light with a more modern version. The State DOT came in and said “Roundabout:here you go”…

Now we have the new mini cell-towers going all along the Up-Island roads. Ugly-really ugly, and I’m sure everyone will be glad to have their iphones working while they drive up-island… I’m sure safety will be touted too. But I gotta ask: Is it worth it? Where is the value of un-interrupted natural beauty? Even the signs: “Look how much I adore you”… as positve a message as that is; do we really need it on a billboard in the middle of the undeveloped scenery? Is nothing sacred?

I know I’ve opened up a messy debate here, and that’s my point. I guess I had the thought that the MVC was a board that was supposed to oversee our development and regulate how we were developing so that we might preserve our “rural island charm”. I guess charm takes a back seat to anything that might make our lives faster, more convenient and more connected.

I like taking the time, and making the difficult journey to find places where I can connect to Nature, and get away from the hustle-bustle of modern society. There was a time when Martha’s Vineyard was known for that kind of connection to the Earth. I know I’m not alone in that thinking. I guess I’m asking what we are willing to go without; and what it’s worth. Then, how do we identify and quantify that worth, and present it in a way that has meaning or importance to those that don’t see or appreciate it? Well… maybe my perspective is just old-fashioned.

Source:  Craig Hockmeyer, marthasvineyard.patch.com 14 May 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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