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I haven’t really been following the story.  Environmental activist Natalynne DeLapp has been promoting the latest proposal for Monument Ridge and Bear River Ridge involving up to 60 turbines, and much like the Shell Oil proposal of a few years ago which was defeated by a coalition of intransigent environmentalists and conservative NIMBYs, this project is receiving opposition from a very vocal collection of usual suspects who feel self-entitled to interrupt and demand that questions be answered in precisely the way they want.

One stupid question was “when is the project going to become carbon neutral?”  Of course any answer but “never” was going to draw a negative response from the self-important.  Certainly their trip to the meeting to deliver their oh-so-important feelings against anything new wasn’t carbon neutral.

Look, this is much like the other projects like the proposed closed-system fish farm which will face knee-jerk opposition from those who would have us return to the stone age in power production while somehow allowing them to maintain their cars and computers to voice their brilliant opinions and cynical rejection of anything which might change their community in any way.

We have to generate power.  We aren’t going to give up our computers and televisions.  So we have to find ways of making it which minimize the footprint.  There will always be a footprint.  Wind energy is renewable and with less impact than fossil fuels and less dangerous than nuclear.  Yes, it will kill some birds, but with the mitigations it’s been pretty well established that all of the birds killed by all of the current wind farms in the US will not even approach the numbers of those killed by the Exxon-Valdiz spill for centuries.  The turbines can only bring power to the grid if they’re placed somewhere.   There is no place where wind blows which does not present danger for birds.  Nor is there any place for hydro-power which does not present danger to fish.  Solar power has not yet addressed the issue of disposal of batteries.  Geothermal can cause all kinds of problems, even acid rain.  There are problems with every power source and all we can do is improve technology and practices to mitigate them.  Get over it.

I’m not necessarily endorsing this very project as I don’t know the details, but I recognize the intransigence and self-righteousness of the oppose-everything crowd, and it reinforces the image of the environmental movement as class-privileged and intransigent.  Make demands about transparency of process and be part of the solution to make it work, and fight like hell if the companies involved don’t keep their promises.  But we need power and working people need to feed their kids.  That’s an important part of the conversation lest Humboldt County just become a retirement community of grumpy old ex-hippies chasing kids off their precious lawns.

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Granted, conservatives in Europe are center-left in U.S. ideological framework.  The conservatives have been in power for years – even joining Bush’s invasion force coalitions and trying to move policy away from environmentalism.  They never dared tried to dismantle the social democratic reforms in earnest.  I think they learned from the Swedish conservatives who manage to win an election every once in a while then overstep their mandate and become one-termers.

But it appears that to keep their coalition together the conservatives had to pander to the xenophobia of nationalists and it cost them with the voters.  The nationalists themselves took a huge hit.

Now Denmark will be led by a 41-year-old woman.

I’m very well aware, as is the case of my own family, that there always remains a very religious conservative right wing.  The Kirks left Scotland during the Rose Wars because they chose the Catholic side of things and in Denmark broke into two factions by the 1800s – deeply religious farmers in the countryside and communist fishermen in Copenhagen.  The latter side of my family were in the anti-Nazi underground and used their boats to help 7000 Jews across the water to Sweden as Germany was invading.  My first cousin twice removed was a famous communist author who wrote the Fishermen (again about the cultural divide in Denmark as also reflected in films like Babette’s Feast).   Hans Kirk was captured by the Nazis at one point as they were burning his books, but he escaped and remained underground through the duration of the war.  He died before I was born.  Kind of dogmatic Stalinist from what I understand, but a very complex person nevertheless as reflected in the nuances of his writing.

Lots of stories, including one of an aunt of mine who carried a gun with her during the occupation.  According to legend she was stopped by a German sentry who asked her what was in the bag, and when she respond “a gun” he slapped her and sent her on her way.

Alas, I am not part of the Kirk branch of Denmark which invented Leggos.  The communist legacy doesn’t come with money, even though The Fisherman was reportedly the most popular Danish novel in the 20th century.

Hans Kirk’s first cousin was my grandfather Kris, who was raised on a pig farm and quite religious.  He didn’t want to remain on the farm so in 1929 when the crash happened and his family lacked money to send him to school he took a shipping job.  When the ship delivered or collected goods in San Francisco, he decided he wanted to stay and jumped ship, swam to the short at about Fort Point, got a job as a riveter in a shipyard, met my grandmother who was a waitress, and fell in with communists.  He obtained citizenship later after joining the army and participating in the invasion of Italy.  Unfortunately, whatever he experienced there – he didn’t talk about it much – he took to drinking when he returned.  But he did manage to write a novel which takes place in the Mission District of SF.  I have it – broken English and all – as my mother typed it out when she was pregnant with me.  Unfortunately he died of liver failure before I was born.

He and his then wife, Hilda, (whom I’ve written about) had been active for many years but left the CP with the exodus following the Kruschev revelations.  Stories for another time.

Back to Denmark itself, let’s see what the Copenhagen side of politics does for the country for awhile.  In the meantime, if you haven’t seen Babette’s Feast, I think it really captures the essence of the more “conservative” side of Denmarks anthropology and history.

 

 

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