“Blue Thoughts, Olympics…”

by on August 2, 2006

Dear Editor…

Thank you for your article asking whether San Francisco residents really want the Olympics here. Until now, I thought maybe I was the lone crank who thought it was a bad idea.

As it is now, those of us who rely on the bus are abandoned when there’s a parade or a crafts fair. The idea of trying to get anywhere on the bus if the Olympics were in town is laughable. But no doubt Gavin Newsom would arrange special transportation for those going to and from the Olympics. We peons who rely on Muni have never seemed to be a part of Newsom’s view of the City, anyway.

Ann Connery

Dear Sir,

The article “Blue Thoughts from a Red State: Where the Wind Blows” by Jesse Zerger Nathan (Jul. 18* 2006) made me sick!

I have been an environmentalist all my life. I have a particular appreciation for the prairies. The wind farms the article talks about so adoringly are an environmental tragedy. Although Kansas may look like a vast open prairie, most of it is not anything like it was before settlement. In fact only 3% of the orginal tall grass prairie in North America remains. Ninety seven percent of it has been plowed up and turned into crop fields. The Flint Hills represents the only large chunk that remains anywhere in North America.

I have visited the Flint Hills and seen its subtle beauty and its unique wildlife. This is one of very few areas that still has reasonable numbers of Greater Prairie Chickens, though even here they have declined significantly. The effects of large scale industrial wind developments now being built will fragment and destroy this area in an irreparable way. This is not speculation; the scientific evidence is overwhelming (as if the effects of development on this scale isn’t self-evident).

The economics of wind energy are shakey at best and hardly a compelling reason to destroy this national treasure. The irony is that just to the west of the Flint Hills are thousands of square miles of former prairie that has been replaced with corn and other crops. Why not put the wind farms there, where the ecosystem has already been largely destroyed? Apparently that would cost the foriegn investors a little more and although they are eager for taxpayer subsidies they are unwilling to pay a little extra to preserve this last significant natural prairie.

Alternate energy sounds wonderful, but wind energy is no panacea and if it isn’t managed properly, it can be a much bigger problem than it purports to solve. The article was one-sided, shallow and absent any facts. Referring to the very real concerns of people trying to preseve what is left of our wild areas as “petty” was insulting and ignorant.

Martin Geleynse
Waterloo, Ontario

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