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Perspective: The downside of industrial solar power

Katie Andraski

As we drove along Ault Road, I watched the wind stroke soybeans like a hand smoothing velvet. My eyes followed the subtle rounds and folds of the land to the eastern horizon slowly going dark. My heart sank as I imagined black glass panels following the sun like Apollo’s chariots.

3,700 acres of prime farmland from Old State Road to Baseline, East to Glidden and west to Malta have been approved by the DeKalb County board to become an industrial solar facility. Those solar panels will be manufactured by slave labor in China using coal and rare earth minerals whose mines are hell on the earth, all to absorb 180 days of sunlight and send the electricity elsewhere while our rates go up and we subsidize it with our taxes. And that’s just one project. Already 6,000 acres have been approved for solar projects in DeKalb County with more in the hopper.

At a time when there are food shortages due to drought and war, do we want to tie up irreplaceable farmland for at least fifty years?

At a time when “western medicine is finally waking up to the fact that contact with the earth, activities as simple as walking, or gardening…can alleviate depression, lower high blood pressure, positively affect other disorders, and turn around lives of disruptive children” as Anglican solitary Maggie Ross says in Silence: A Users Guide, do we want to turn the subtle rounds and folds of irreplaceable farmland into an industrial brownfield?

I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.

Katie Andraski is an author, blogger, and retired composition teacher at Northern Illinois University. You can read more of her writing on Substack at Katie's Ground.