A few weeks ago I spent some time in suburban Boston visiting relatives. I spoke to them of Northern Pass. Since neither had heard of the project, I educated them on the dangers Northern Pass is posing to health, air, land, and water. Their response? Shrugged shoulders.
Neither member of my family cared thousands of acres of New Hampshire’s forest will be cut. Neither cared of the environmental devastation Hydro-Quebec has caused in Quebec. Neither cared of the long term negative impacts on New Hampshire. These members of my family don’t care the electricity produced by Hydro-Quebec isn’t green, renewable, and that it’s based on a finite source. What they cared about was continuing to get cheap electricity.
I mentioned it was time to jettison some left over technologies such as coal and nuclear power systems and instead embrace solar and wind. It was at that time my uncle said “Humans can’t adapt.”
I was pretty shocked when he said that. Shocked enough that I didn’t say anything, instead I just stared at him. When I collected my wits, I responded with “Of course humans can adapt. We adapted to the horse and buggy. We adapted to the telephone, the train, the car, the TV, the computer and cellphone. It’s YOU who *won’t* adapt.”
It was then the realization hit me: the average consumer of electricity wants to continue consuming electricity as usual. They want to plug in their cellphones, iPads, computers, and TVs and have electricity come to their homes. By changing the method in which gather electricity is too much change for those who do not wish to change at all. It’s the old adage If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
As I drove home that night, my husband and I laughed at the dinosaur attitude of my uncle. I wondered out loud how many people resisted electricity when it was the newest, greatest technology. I wondered if my ancestors resisted the phone, the TV, the train, and the horse and buggy.
How we gather electricity will change regardless of my uncles wishes. He will have to adapt or die. I’m fairly certain he’ll choose adaptation but will complain about it to everyone he knows. And he’ll tell his grandkids “when I was a kid, we bought electricity from nuclear power plants, the coal industry, and it worked fine!”
Written by MC