To continue the rant on the wind farms and environmental thinking in general:
The word "environmentalist" is often considered synonymous with "conservationist", that is, someone who wants to keep things the way they are. But true environmentalism (which I define as humankind living in harmony with nature, which redounds to humanity’s benefit) must ask: is the status quo worth keeping?
There are two status quos in this situation: one is that of the state of Nantucket Sound itself. There is indeed a lovely view, unobstructed by man-made objects. It is a tourist attraction because of its natural beauty.
The other status quo is that of our current power-generating systems, which cause pollution, disease and early death for real people who really live near you, as well as contributing to global warming. This is really not in dispute.
These status quos are dependent on one another. If we keep the Sound as it is, we keep the plants and pollution and global warming they way they are. Change the Sound, change all of those. I wouldn’t dismiss the idea that — all things being equal — the Sound should stay as it is. But all things emphatically aren’t equal.
Furthermore, there’s this idea from the RFK quote below that the Sound and Cape Cod are these unspoiled, pristine oases — that what we see today is what folks have seen for generations upon generations, Amen.
Going to the Cape and islands, or anyplace of great natural beauty, in order to see pristine nature, is indulging in willful self-deception. The mere fact that you’re there belies the notion that it’s "pristine", unsullied by human intervention. (And folks who run establishments at most vacation spots aren’t really very subtle about inserting themselves into your nature-grooving experience. I hardly need to cite examples, do I?)
In fact, when we travel to places far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we yearn to live in harmony with nature. That’s the best we can do as human beings. We can’t keep living the illusion of pristine nature — even if the blinkered view is lovely.
[This discussion has analogies to housing and sprawl issues as well — I’ll post on that at some later date.]