We all have our point of view, literally and figuratively. I have lived in a home powered by solar energy for more than seven years. I am convinced that more Americans must do the same, and soon, if we are going to have any chance of keeping climate change from becoming catastrophic.
Here is the view of our solar panel array from our neighbor’s house. The same neighbor who has expressed his displeasure at the “ugly view of our solar panels from his property!” The view of the array is mostly blocked by evergreen trees between our properties. You have to look hard to see the neighbor’s house behind the trees.
He told us that he is going to hire a landscape architect to fix the “ugly view” from his home (a three story with basement, 6200 sq foot home occupied by him and his wife.) Trying to be good neighbors, we offered to help by cutting down the trees he wanted to remove and replace them with more evergreens. I told him I was sorry he was upset by the view but said that we were more concerned with carbon pollution than what he called “visual pollution”! I was hoping he might get the hint.
Ok, I get it. He is rich. He can afford to live in whatever size home he chooses. He feels entitled to his views. I sent him a photo of our previous home with solar panel arrays installed 25′ from our house in full view of the windows. He replied (via email) that he and his wife moved to the country to enjoy the views of nature and that the “minimal amount of carbon that solar energy reduced” wasn’t worth having to look at an ugly solar array.
I admit, his comments have been bothering me and I’m struggling with his figurative view (because I think our solar panels are hardly intruding on his actual view). But I decided not to reply to his email and to let him have the last word because nothing I say is likely to change his view. Only large evergreens are going to do that!
Now I like my neighbors. They welcomed us to the neighborhood when we moved in three years ago. They are avid gardeners as I am. They are nice people. But we seem to have come to a difference in our point of view that is hard to get past. I’m not sure why he believes that solar energy only minimally reduces carbon emissions. I did some calculations and his 6,200 sq. ft. home is generating approximately 65 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. This makes their total carbon footprint more than four times the American average of 18 to 20 tons of carbon dioxide. My home’s carbon emissions are nearly zero.
What I’d like to tell him is that American’s need to become part of the climate change solution because we are much of the problem. We use more energy per capita than other countries. We waste a great deal of the energy that we use. We drive too much. We eat too much meat. We over-consume cheap plastic disposable products manufactured in China, and these exports are a large part of the reason China now uses so much fossil energy.
A couple living in a 6,200 sq.ft. house is a problem! Wealthy people who can afford to invest in renewable energy but chose instead to consume large amounts of fossil fuels are a problem! People who want nice views of nature even though their lifestyle is impacting the health of that nature are also a problem. People like these will only be changed by government policy or market forces.
Yes, we all have our views. It’s too bad that some people see the world so poorly!