The Oxford dictionary defines “finite” as “having bounds, ends or limit.” The word “infinite,” of course, means the opposite.
This isn’t news to anyone older than a grade-school child, yet we are bombarded with propaganda from the corporate world and government that there is no limit to “growth” on our finite planet.
Obviously, there is a limited amount of oil, clean water, metals, soil in which to grow our food, fish and, well, every other resource you can think of in our finite world.
So, if we opt for infinite growth, we eventually will run out of our ability to sustain human existence. Once we destroy the Earth’s ability to renew itself, no number of clever solutions or magical scientific breakthroughs will help us.
Exhausting the environment that sustains human life is not a new phenomenon. Numerous societies have exhausted their resources by demanding too much. Collapse and abandonment of all that they had built was the inevitable result.
We are digging up vast areas by mining for minerals and fuel; cutting the great tropical and boreal forests that store carbon dioxide and replenish the oxygen that we and other animal life need to live; flooding vast areas to produce hydropower; pouring industrial wastes into our water and atmosphere, and overfishing and polluting the oceans.
Sustainability is not, or should not be, a political issue. Real conservatives recognize the need to husband resources and live within their means. Real progressives understand the cannibalizing of nature can only lead to “death by a thousand cuts.”
These truths are relevant to the current gold rush by energy corporations to cover New Hampshire’s landscape with long-distance, high-voltage power lines and wind farms.
We do not need these projects, for there already is more than enough electrical energy in New England. They needlessly will contribute to the degradation of our environment. They will benefit the bottom line of corporations, while leaving us poorer – economically and aesthetically.
By ourselves, we cannot change the world, although we can set a good example by changing the way things are done in New Hampshire. In the process, we can create community-based sustainable energy facilities, together with the companies and jobs to support a healthier, renewable environment for ourselves and our children.
To get this done, we must encourage our legislators to insist on a moratorium on any new industrial energy projects until such time as the Legislature formulates and passes a comprehensive energy policy for our state.
There are a number of bills to get the ball rolling, but we must do our part by contacting our representatives to let them know we support efforts to build a sane, renewable future.
Don’t wait, for these issues will be considered soon. Our voices can make a difference. Let’s make sure they are heard.
Peter Martin, of Plymouth, is a member of the No Northern Pass Coalition.
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