thirty degrees today and a hatless walk. That also meant more navigable snow for paws, and only one stick-happy dog that stayed by my side.
I saw "Avatar" yesterday. There was something almost eerie about returning from that movie to an alert on my email about the currently embattled Wampanoag people of Massachusetts.
Avatar, if you haven't seen it, is all about a civilization of beings on a distant planet who live in a network of perfect spiritual harmony with their world. Evil, profit-minded humans are determined to invade the planet Pandora in order to get access to the valuable mineral "unobtanium." Unfortunately, in order to obtain the unobtanium, they have to wipe out the most sacred tree to the natives of Pandora.
The Wampanoag's situation is not quite so dire, nor so black and white. Wampanoag means "people of the first light." Greeting the sunrise off of Cape Cod is an important part of their spiritual traditions of thousands of years. A proposed 24 square mile wind farm off the coast will obstruct the eastern view and impinge upon their sacred ritual.
A quote from a Wampanoag, cited on a Boston Children's Museum webpage, could have come just as easily from the inhabitants of the planet Pandora:
"We have lived with this land for thousands of generations...giving respect and thanks for each and every thing taken for our use."
If only we could all live that way, maybe we wouldn't need all that extra power.
I haven't studied the problem beyond the Jan 4th and Jan 13th New York Times articles, but it's not an easy one for me. Proponents of wind power aren't aren't just trying to make a buck, they're trying to be more environmentally responsible. But building 130 turbines, each 440 feet tall, in the path of a sunrise ritual that has gone on for thousands of years sounds as bad as wiping out the sacred tree on Pandora (and that was a disaster!).
And I have to admit, although I recognize the importance of clean power to feed all of our consumptive habits, I am also particularly attuned to the immeasurable power of an unobstructed sunrise.