A pristine Prescott

By Daniel Roca

This past month, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors turned down a meteorological tower proposal that could have led to the development of wind farms on Yolo Ranch lands, northwest of Prescott.

Opposition to the project cited concerns for the untouched natural landscape, warning of environmental, habitat and noise disturbances, while advocates of renewable energy quickly criticized the Board’s decision.

Then there are those of us who feel torn — who support the development of renewable and sustainable energy sources, but who also cherish those few pristine forests and mountains we have left.

I am guilty of such ambivalence. On the one hand, I believe we ought to build renewable energy projects wherever possible. Oil and coal are diminishing prospects that leave clear signs of wear and tear on our environment. Given the catastrophic events at the Fukushima reactors in Japan, nuclear energy seems out of the question. What is left? Not much. Wind energy seems the most promising of all. So let’s build the wind farms.

Just not in my backyard.

Should I feel terrible for saying that? Pull up Google Earth and search for wilderness areas untouched by the technology of man. There is little left. And it is disappearing. Prescott is a lucky gem at the center of National Forest and Wilderness Areas. There are too few of these places available in the world. Surely there’s some abandoned parking lot out there just waiting to be put to better use.

Is it selfish to want to keep these areas untouched and pristine, for my own personal enjoyment? Yes. I admit it. But the basis of my enjoyment comes from knowing that these areas are like islands in the sea of suburban sprawl, and should any of these islands fall under the threat of an industrial, corporate tsunami, in my backyard or not, I will stand up to protect them.

I have to agree with the folks on the Yavapai County Board. Though their decisions usually seem driven by considerations of financial and residential growth — the consequences of which usually stifle real progress in our community — in this case, they made the correct, selfish decision.

This article appeared in the May 2011 print edition of The Raven Review.

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