Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Out in the middle of nowhere...

This past weekend, on our way to Colorado and back, we spent a lot of time out in the middle of nowhere.  Kansas to be exact.  And while we were there, the wind was blasting across the state with a steely eyed focus on Canada.  That was where it wanted to be apparently, and nothing was going to get in its way except a few cars and trucks, some cows... and these giant windmills.  In truth, I suppose we weren't actually out in the middle of nowhere, because we were west of Salina when we took these pictures, and according to all the maps I've seen, that is  somewhere.  The windmills (or wind turbines) are part of an enormous complex known as the Smoky Hills Wind Farm.  There were hundreds and hundreds of these huge wind turbines scattered in loose clusters along I70.  We saw one of the blades for these things sitting on a large flatbed trailer, at a truck stop, and it extended out past the end of the trailer.  It's encouraging to see so many of these being built.  Anywhere the wind blows consistently, there should be wind farms.  But from what I understand, all of the windmills in this complex are owned by an Italian company.  Seems we can't even get our own country to seriously invest in this kind of technology.  That is truly unfortunate.  But over the years I am sure that the coal and oil industries have applied a great deal of pressure on the politicians (always for sale to the highest bidder) to find subtle ways to underfund clean and renewable energy R&D.  Washington pays lip service to it, but when it comes down to making it a priority, and really  getting behind it, the money and initiative always seems to be lacking.  So much of what we do, how we get from one place to another, how we power our lives, is fossil fuel based.  It is ubiquitous; and because alternatives are not being given serious attention here in the U.S., the deck is stacked against the average consumer.  Going green is expensive.  So the car we drove across Kansas (at 75 miles per hour) runs on gasoline, and we used quite a bit on this trip.  That's just the way it is for now, I guess.  Don't get me wrong, this petroleum based system of ours has served us well over the past 150 years or so, but it is clear that the extraction and use of those products is harming our world, and it will eventually become too costly, in a number of ways, to obtain and use.  It is not going to last forever, despite what some would like you to believe.  "Drill, baby, drill!"... the rallying cry of the slack-jawed masses.  The people who embrace that philosophy are inclined to look no further than the tip of their nose, apparently... or they are in deep denial.  There is no such thing as generational thinking for them, it's just what serves them best right now. The future will take care of itself, I guess.  Ugh.

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