What’s So Funny About Wind Power?

Why did New York media make a joke about the mayor’s intention to pursue wind power for the nation’s biggest city? It’s because most people would rather laugh about an unproven idea than cry about the lack of secure ways out of a climate crisis.

It’s pretty straight science to put a green roof on a building in New York, as developers are increasingly doing for dorms and luxury condos, and nobody jokes about it. It’s also pretty straight science to put a wind turbine a few miles offshore, but the way Mike Bloomberg presented the idea got newspaper editors skeevy. We saw a lot of “he’s cuckoo” humor: Lady Liberty holding a turbine, New York pedestrians wearing little blade-headbands, a slideshow of New York landmarks covered in windmills.

Bloomberg has touched a nerve. What is crazy is pretending this 350-year-old city can keep running on splintering electric lines from as far away as Ohio or from antiquated power plants in Queens. When we make jokes about how outlandish it is, are we mocking the mayor for hubris? (We shouldn’t. All he did was ask proven wind providers what they thought they could do- he’s already pushing solar power, which lends itself more readily to a city of rooftops.) Are we laughing because the mayor has dared us to admit how scared we are to keep driving blind into the future?

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Harvey McDaniel)

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