Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Please vote yes on Midd solar bond

On Tuesday, Aug. 31, Middlebury residents will have the opportunity to approve a bond to purchase some solar panels within the Bristol Community Solar project. Not only will this proposal help reduce Middlebury’s GHG emissions and earn money for the town for decades, but approval is a blow against institutionalized racism.

About 50% of Vermont’s electricity is tied to Hydro-Quebec. Unfortunately, the environmental devastation caused by the flooding of 308 million acres of forestland in Northern Canada by Hydro-Quebec has resulted in the Five Nations tribal people being removed from their homelands and traditional hunting grounds without their consent. These people have not been compensated for most of the land that has been impacted.

The people themselves are dying not only from starvation resulting from the destruction of their traditional hunting and fishing grounds, but also from mythlmercury poisoning caused by the flooding of the land (their source of food and sustenance). Many of the native people don’t even have electricity so they can’t take advantage of the “benefits” of hydro development.

By relying on Hydro-Quebec power, we provide our tacit approval and consent for the continued theft of land and genocidal approach to the Indigenous populations of North America. We cannot in good conscience trade fossil fuel injustices for renewable energy injustices. Rather than rely on Hydro-Quebec, we Vermonters need to endure the sacrifices necessary to rapidly convert our energy systems away from fossil fuels to renewable sources ourselves. No one I know would be happy getting forcibly removed from their home and having their land flooded, all without their consent or compensation, and yet too many of us appear content to benefit from it happening to others. By relying on electricity from Hydro-Quebec, we are actively perpetuating the original sin of the first European settlers.

Since it is possible to convert to renewable energy without sacrificing large parts of the planet, or entire races of people, we should do so. Voting yes on the bond vote Aug. 31 is a small step in the right direction.

Bees be with you,

Ross Conrad

Middlebury

While Ross Conrad serves on the Middlebury Energy Committee, the opinions reflected here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Committee.

 

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