Last month, I was delighted to read a breaking news story that Hilton Head Island was named the “Best Island” in the U.S. for the fourth year in a row, and Savannah and Charleston were among the “top four cities.”
I then started to wonder if Bluffton could achieve such a distinction someday. It has been growing like crazy over the past two decades. And this is what frightens me.
Developers can come in with lots of cash, and leave a leaking bag of trash. Costs for government services go up, and it’s the same for stressed and failing infrastructure.
Elected officials will declare: “It’s in the Master Plan!” This is all well and good, but master plans are often outdated and can lack something very important these days: Climate change. Flooding and droughts are becoming more frequent. In 2007, the Georgia governor and fellow Georgians prayed for rain.
Is this rapid buildup in Bluffton sustainable? Is it worth the wholesale stripping of trees, or what is being called “clear-cutting”? Do we need a CVS and Walgreens on almost every corner like some Florida cities?
Unrestrained development is turning local roads into death traps. Traffic control can’t keep up. The sights and sounds of crashing are almost commonplace. Personal injury lawyers are “hawking” on TV ad nauseam.
If optimum populations could only be established, I would have gladly searched for another place to live.
Historians better start taking photos and recording sounds of wildlife for future generations.
True costs: Hydrocarbon the best energy answer
The general public does not realize that their renewable energy has a heavy cost. Batteries, wind turbines and solar panels are built from non-renewable materials.
An electric-car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Making one requires more than 500,000 pounds of raw material, and coal, oil and gas are needed to obtain this material. The raw material must be mined and processed, and this takes energy. When the battery wears out, it needs to be replaced, and 1,000 pounds of waste has to taken care of.
A wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of non-recyclable plastic for the blades. Energy in the form of coal, oil and gas is needed to produce the above materials. They require maintenance, and they also wear out and have to be replaced, especially when placed offshore.
Solar panels require all of the above raw materials, but also require rare-earth elements. The Dutch government did a study and concluded that the Netherlands’ green ambitions alone would consume a major share of global rare-earth material.
Hydrocarbon remains a far better and lower-cost alternative when the true costs of renewable energy are considered. For example, a wind farm of many wind turbines can be replaced by a handful of gas turbines and there is no worry about windless days.
Charles F. Lenzinger
Hilton Head Island
Teachers need National Board Certification stipend restored
Evidence shows that National Board Certification makes a positive difference in the teaching of all students. It is a rigorous, challenging and respected process. Helping teachers be both more effective and more engaged should be the goal of every South Carolina parent. Every teacher in the state should be encouraged and helped to become Board Certified. Hopefully, every legislator will listen to teachers and other concerned citizens and restore the stipend for National Board Certification. It should be the first step in allocating more money for teacher salaries and making teaching more attractive. Encouraging teachers to stay, rather than leave teaching, is essential. Restore the stipend and support good teaching.
Hilton Head Island
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