I’m angry

22.09.2014
Volker Buddensiek
Volker Buddensiek

Opinion pieces are one of the basic forms of journalism. After hours of deep thought, the editor, with furrowed brow, reaches for his pen. He then provides a profound analysis in crystal-clear words, explaining the state of humanity and giving answers to existential questions.

Not today! Today I'm just going to vent my anger. I'm annoyed by populist attacks on the expansion of the grid. These attacks pander to the attitudes of people who want everything and nothing. They want everything when it comes to quality of life, prosperity, security of energy supply and low prices. But when it comes to bearing the associated consequences, their motto is 'NIMBY - Not In My Back Yard'.

I'm irked by people who move to the countryside and then complain that the pigsty doesn't smell like Chanel, who would like to ban roosters from crowing before 9 AM with a court order. Of course they are against nuclear power, but they are also against coal, gas, wind and solar energy. It goes without saying that this includes power lines, at least anywhere near them. Power lines interfere with their view of the fields while eating their Sunday breakfast egg.

Double standard for agriculture

I grew up in a village and for decades I watched ponds that had been a habitat for frogs and salamanders get bulldozed, trees by the roadside being felled, country lanes ploughed under, and finally meadows turned into agricultural fields on a massive scale, until the entire landscape was lifeless and flat like brown painted concrete. During all those years, there wasn't a shred of protest against this so-called "cultivated" landscape. All of this was orderly agriculture according to the rules.

But if the spinning rotors of a wind turbine are visible on the horizon, then that is a blight on the landscape. Sensitive conservationists with selective perception are quick to take up the fight against them. "Not in my backyard!" If at all possible, they try to prevent not only the underground power lines, but the rotors as well.

Legions of lawyers are then gleefully sent into the fray. Even if they only manage to delay the projects, at least it is something. People who lose their jobs because the project planner is brought to its economic knees see the situation from a different angle. But then what is unemployment compared to an impaired view of a beet field!

Thinking evil thoughts

In my evil moments, I imagine a government that gives communities the responsibility for their own energy supply, so that they have to generate a certain percentage of energy within their own borders. I then imagine how one morning trucks with oily drill pipes appear on the beet field. When the excited NIMBY's then ask what is happening here, a man wearing a Statoil helmet will say: Since you just successfully blocked electricity generation using wind power with a lawsuit, we are fracking for natural gas now! All underground, so as not to disturb your Sunday peace!

One could say: Leave it alone; that's just how people are. But I'm not quite finished being upset yet. There is still Michael Fuchs, MP and long-time Deputy Parliamentary Party Leader for the CDU, Germany’s conservative party, in the area of economics, who needs to get what is coming to him. As a politician, he should know that one's brain should be switched on before speaking. Nevertheless, when asked on a TV show last November what he would prefer to have in front of his window, he had the audacity to declare that he didn't want to see anything at all! NIMBY as a political guideline!

I've had enough for today!

Volker Buddensiek

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