God Damn the Sun
Woodland, North Carolina takes ecology tips from their local science teacher, not real scientists.
By Jim Knipfel
A week after the Paris climate change meeting wrapped with some tenuous new accords in place, the town of Woodland, North Carolina was set to vote on the construction of a new solar farm. The location on the outskirts of town seemed choice, given the convenience of a nearby electrical substation and the ease with which the solar panels could be plugged into the local grid. It seemed a simple, even obvious plan that could, over time, drastically reduce the energy costs faced by area residents, and without all that maddening whirring and humming you get with wind farms.
Better still, it would help that little corner of North Carolina cut down on its carbon footprint. Well, then shortly before the vote a science teacher from the Woodland public school system and her husband got up before the town council and the rest of the citizenry to explain a little bit about how solar farms work. If anyone would understand such things, it’s a science teacher, right? The two of them then went on to explain—one can only hope with the help of several apocalyptic visual aids—that the array of solar panels would in fact drain the sun of all of its power.
Those wicked panels would just suck all those billions of gigawatts of light and heat right the hell up, leaving no stray sunlight around to help trigger photosynthesis. If that solar farm was built, it was only a matter of weeks, maybe hours before all their crops withered and died, see, and the town of Woodland itself would be cast into perpetual darkness. Worse, once they got old enough, all their children would move out of town. I mean, who the hell wants to live in a town with no plant life that’s engulfed in perpetual darkness?
This proposed solar farm would not only kill the sun, it would kill Woodland! Yes, well. Despite the best efforts of, um, real scientists to calmly and patiently explain how solar panels work and that the sun would have plenty of light and heat to offer everybody for the next several hundred million years, the council took their own science teacher at her word. The company primed and ready to get to work on the solar panels even brought in scientists from NASA, for godsakes, but it was to no avail and the council voted down the proposal three-to-one.
It’s worth noting the people of Woodland also believe climate change is nothing but an insidious communist plot concocted to destroy capitalism, that millions of babies are harvested and slaughtered every year for their stem cells, that mankind has only existed on the planet for five thousand years, that eclipses are portents of doom, that Hal Lindsey is right and the End Times are nigh, that Barack Obama is a Muslim and an illegal alien, and that Jesus was a white man who looked just like that guy from the Doobie Brothers. In that, they represent a perfect cross section of the state of critical thinking in America today.
Funnier still, if that teacher represents the general state of scientific education the children of North Carolina are receiving in the public schools, we can all rest easy in knowing the world will continue to become a much simpler thing to understand for generations to come.
Published December 17th, 2015
Jim Knipfel is the author of Slackjaw, The Blow-Off, These Children Who Come at You With Knives, and several other books.