Cherokee Solar wrote:There is a logical fallacy in your reply. You are assuming that the only time your actions can be impacted is by other people.
Not really. We make decisions unilaterally, and also we make decisions in response to outside stimuli. If we choose to take action to "save the planet",that is perfectly fine. I have no qualms about people putting PV on their roof etc. However in this situation it is not that simple. "People" have chosen to save the planet by disrupting my life, not theirs. I try very hard not to do that, as I do not consider it fair that my actions impact negatively on other people.
Cherokee Solar wrote:There are also limits to the economic availability of minerals, energy, soil, water etc. These are real limits and can’t be gotten around.
Once again, I agree (but again, it's not really the point being discussed). It is simply the conservation METHOD that is in question. I reduced my use of electricity by installing PV on all my businesses and my house. I reduce my use of other resources by growing much of my own food, and composting much of our household waste. On my farm I try to use as little fertiliser as possible, and manage that usage (and water, fuel etc.) in the optimum way. Despite our best efforts we still suffer from plastic packaging overload and freight from China, but that is hard to avoid these days. However you will notice that all of the above has little direct impact on anyone else.
Cherokee Solar wrote:You dodged the central question though which drives these types of discussions, because it is hard to respond to without looking like a hypocrite. The central question is, “what sort of culture and environment do you want to live in and what do you want it to look like?”
I don't think I dodged it at all, but it is a massive subject with a great many interlinked aspects. For example I believe we should not negatively impact, or restrict the freedom, of other people. I also believe that we should help people who are unable to help themselves. However, and it saddens me to say this, human nature makes this very difficult because it requires EVERYONE to share the same views and reciprocate actions. For example, I provide a (very) cheap house for a young couple and their kids. In return they keep it clean, keep an eye on my farm etc., and it works very nicely. Everyone is happy. But it doesn't always work that way, some people will trash the house, leave gates open etc. The same applies to unemployment benefits, the PBA, disability schemes. These schemes are supposed to help those who need help, and as such I fully support them. But unfortunately there is a large and growing number of people who view them as a lifestyle choice, easier than working. So whilst I believe in helping others, I believe in helping those who help themselves. It is also complicated when one considers that not everyone shares the same values. Is it my place to criticise a foreign country because their beliefs and actions do not match mine? Does that inherently mean that mine are right? Good and bad are often simply a result of fashion, freedom fighter and terrorist are separated only by opinion of the viewer. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder.
The environment is equally difficult. It is not, and never has been, a static thing. It is always changing. So whilst I don not think that pumping (real) pollutants in to the air is a good thing, it is equally nonsensical to pick a number (whether that be ppm, number of species, acres or anything else), and pretend that "this number" is normal. The world is in a constant state of flux, the climate changes, species come and go and environments change. Australia was once a rain forest, but no longer. You say that you want to manage your forests in a "more traditional manner", by which I assume you mean an aboriginal style cool season patchwork burning program. Given how well that works in the NT, I can see why that appeals. But do you realise that this very approach is, according to some research, is what changed Australia and killed the mega fauna?
Living in a mining area, and having travelled extensively through the country, I know that mining is not pretty. But that applies to gold, zinc and even opal mining, not just coal. And, by the way, most cities are not exactly attractive either! And I've seen a lot of 100% natural landscapes that are, to me, very unappealing. And some incredibly pretty farms, and even factories!
The main point here is not, in fact "how do I want the environment to look", as that is simply a matter of opinion. Nor can the point be "how can we preserve the environment", because constant change is part of nature and to try and halt change is to defy nature. The only point is "what do we think is acceptable in our efforts to follow our own values".
Taken to extremes, I have minimal reliance on "cities". Most of what I want, and all of what I need (with the possible exception of coffee!) I can source in my own valley. And I can do so without ever changing the environment from the way it is now. So if I believe strongly enough, does that give me the right to "terminate" the cities on the grounds that they are causing the problem? No, of course not. Does it give me the right to turn off all the power stations on the grounds that they are causing the problems, and doing so won't impact me? No, obviously it doesn't! In fact, in my view, it gives me no rights whatsoever to bugger up anybody elses life because of what I believe. If I want to convert the world to what I want it to be, I can do that only through persuasion and encouragement. I can replace my mother in laws 50W MR16's with LED's, at my expense and with her permission. I can discuss solar panels and water tanks with people who have neither. But can I pull out all their fuses? No. I can encourage, I can sponsor and I can work. I spent half of yesterday pulling out a windmill and a faulty solar bore pump for a guy up the road, then tearing it down and ordering spare parts. I'll repair it and refit it (for free) and he will once again have a working solar pump. In the process I will be encouraging him to put PV on his roof, and we'll discuss all kinds of environmental farming and living options, that I will make no profit from. I can encourage and assist, but it is not my place to demand or impose.
The environment is ever changing, and it will suffer all of what we throw at it and still be here. Not always the same, but then it has never remained constant. How we interact with each other is far more important. If we start believing that our values give us the right to do whatever we want, disadvantaging others to suit ourselves, then the only thing we can be said to truly care about is ourselves.
So I believe that the discussion is not really about wind farms. As you suggest, the discussion is really about society, culture and values. Various religions, through the centuries, have seen it as acceptable (and in some cases still do) to do pretty much whatever they please, based on their beliefs. Our beliefs are that we need to be more energy efficient, and more mindful of our limited resources. Does that give us the right to burn witches? Or even to compost them?
Cherokee Solar wrote:what sort of ...environment do you want to live in and what do you want it to look like?
Would it be too ironic to say that I wanted to live in the environment where I bought this farm, and I want it to look the way it did when I bought it....... rather than looking like a wind farm?