Change... we're not very good at it, are we? Considering that we like to see ourselves as the current pinnacle of evolution and that our rate of technological advance shows no sign of letting up, we still become rather hot under the collar if faced with something new.
Complaining about new developments is probably a habit as old as the human race itself.
Casebook 1: Middle East
Plaintiff: You've got to stop my neighbour! He's building this big wooden construction and its blocking out all my light! I can hardly see what I'm doing!
Ancient Civil Servant: And that is, sir?
Plaintiff: Well, er... sinning, mainly, but that's not the point. This Noah chap should be stopped. And his bloody dove keeps crapping on my wife's laundry.
Casebook 2: North West Europe
Defendant: 'S religious, innit? 'S a temple to the wossnames, Gods, it is. Got to have a place of worship or what's the point?
Ancient Civil Servant: Indeed, sir.
Plaintiff: But it ruins the view!! We've always been able to watch the funerary processions and this hideous structure will render that impossible. AND it's not even local materials!
Ancient Civil Servant: Yes, I did wonder about transporting dolerite all that way, but apparently it has healing and magical properties.
Defendant: 'Cos it's religious, like I said. But we're a small order of worshippers, we will endeavour to be as unobtrusive as possible.
Plaintiff: Bollocks! There'll be hordes of folk tramping over the barrows every bloody solstice, you mark my words.
Back in the here and almost now...
Windmills have been around for nearly 2000 years, providing energy for tasks as mundane, yet vital, as pumping water for drainage or irrigation and grinding cereals into flour. Despite being sidelined by the invention of steam-powered machinery in the 1800s, towards the end of the 19th Century, a few windmills were even used for generating electricity.
There's nothing new under the sun, eh? I get the feeling that a debate that is over one hundred years old, is only just putting its racing skates on.
Neither side of the argument is as open and honest as it claims to be. Landowners and generating companies are seen as trying to make big profits from the countryside, whilst objectors are labelled as NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) and looking after their own interests.
On the face of it, the differences of opinion are irreconcilable. If we can't even agree whether there is a need for clean and renewable energy production, perhaps we still have a bit more evolving to do (yes, I know that this is an ongoing process anyway, but you get the idea).
I think that we have to presume that the world climate has always been changing. For the last 4.5 billion years, it's been a roller coaster ride of warming and cooling. No civilisation, let alone any individual human, has been around long enough to personally monitor this accurately. We can, however, look at samples of sediments or ice cores and make educated guesses about what it has been like for the previous several hundred million years. It changes, quelle surprise.
All the stuff alive on Earth now, has evolved to be comfortable with the present climate. This includes all of us humans, even the creationist ones. If we like it how it is, we might want to prolong that for as long as possible, especially if the rate of change is speeding up? As we gallop towards 7 billion people on the planet, all burning fossil fuels like they're going out of fashion (oh, they are!), it is entirely realistic to think that this has unwanted consequences.
Whilst anthropogenic climate change is only one part of the change mechanism, it's also the only part we have any control over. Whilst future technological innovations will help mitigate the effects of climate change, they will still require plenty of raw materials for a burgeoning population, so perhaps a bit of environmental prudence is in order, right now.
Comments, on a postcard, to the usual address...