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Why the "Not in my backyard" Argument is Outdated



What do telephone lines and the Truman highway system have in common? In addition to being two things we couldn’t live without, they are also two things that faced criticism and fierce opposition prior to their construction. Infrastructure and technological innovation continues to bring ease and convenience to the communities that embrace it. Yet, while the rest of the world accepts these new and exciting options, there are groups that band together to fight future developments and continued progress. Everyone wants to have the latest technology and enjoy the conveniences that progress brings, right? Everyone wants to have the latest technology and enjoy the conveniences that progress brings, right? Not. So. Fast.


In every community, there will be residents that vehemently oppose changes at every turn. They love their community the way it is, so why should anything change now? That’s not to say they don’t want to enjoy the services and modern conveniences new projects bring. The small but vocal minority continues to use the same, tired arguments throughout each of these projects, from town-halls and hearings to elected official meetings and online: “not in my backyard.”


For better or worse, this NIMBY mentality has plagued development from the beginning of industrialized America. After the massive growth of the American railroads, rural Americans were able to transport their goods across the country. Yet, the railroad’s expansion was stifled by stagecoach drivers and frontier towns who saw the greatest development in transportation as a threat to their way of life. Religious leaders even claimed that railroads were sacrilegious.

Energy developments are often met with the similar opposition. While residents of a community expect to enjoy the heat, electricity and lower energy prices created by a developing energy project, they cannot accept the changes to their way of life and will stifle progress before they accept it. Local leaders need to ask themselves whether or not the loud and aggressive cries of a small group of residents is enough to hold back several years of progress or allow innovation the create a better community for the generations to come?


What exactly is this voice opposing? Here in Ohio, alternative energy technologies are growing exponentially, allowing communities to flourish as they bring new forms of critical energy to the state’s residents. Wind energy, especially, has seen tremendous growth in job creation in the last decade as the second fastest growing occupation surpassed only by solar energy jobs.


We can’t let NIMBYist voices stifle critical infrastructure innovation and energy diversity. Technological changes propel society forward and foster a cleaner and rewarding future for the generations of Ohioans to come. As Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”


Wind energy is a part of that future that is best for the many. Let us use our logic and our knowledge of the past to help usher in a brighter and cleaner future for our communities in Ohio.

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