Posted by: mesabimisadventures | June 1, 2009

Not in my backyard (NIMBY)


Hear ye, hear ye, I do declare
to all of you protesters who proclaim to care
about the soil, the water, the air
have you considered your lifestyle,
do you dare?

You protest the mines, the pipelines, the landfills,
while claiming our future is in solar and windmills.
You use fear tactics, create mountains out of molehills.
You neglect to see your role in the world,
your consumption equals the mines and the oil drills.

You want your fancy house, your car and your things.
Your flat-screen tv, designer clothes and diamond rings.
You claim all you want is to protect those with fur, gills or wings
You send your pre-made Sierra Club letter to your congressmen
and never experience the result that it brings.

Solar panels and windmills aren’t made with pixie dust.
They require glass, plastics and metals coated so that they won’t rust.
They seem so “green” and they give you the conscience for which you lust.
But their raw materials came from oil rigs and mining sites.
In that fact, you can trust.

You want to consume your goods. You want to buy, buy, buy.
You live in denial. See the truth? You’d rather not try.
Your lifestyle must come somewhere in the world, that’s no lie.
But you’d rather not have to live with the impact
whereas I would prefer to have it nearby.

In Minnesota, we have MSHA, MPCA, DNR and strong unions.
Overseas, environmental regulations are rare and their land can be ruined.
For that ring on your hand, they slave under deadly working conditions.
You want all that you have and even more
but you don’t want to live with the consequences of your decisions.

You drive your hybrid with the nickel-metal hydride battery pack
and a “Ban Sulfide Mining” bumper sticker ironically placed on the back.
You protest Cu-Ni mines with the vehemence of a junkie who needs crack
never once considering the source of the nickel in that battery
or the metals that comprise the laptop in your backpack.

You ask me how I can sleep at night, knowing that I work at a mine.
I know I’m fulfilling a need and my ethics are sound, so I do just fine.
We have to accept that our actions have consequences, yours and mine.
I care about the global environment, the workers and their families.
NIMBY is selfish and that’s my final line.

<;scooching humbly off of the soapbox



  1. Well put! But there does need to be balance and not use all the natural stuff within a generation or two. and if there weren’t the protests, there might just be the same rape of the land as in those other countries. In all things, moderation. Yes, and less consumption.

    • I completely agree with your comment. There has to be a balance and there has to be some restraint. In some ways, I feel the recession has been a positive thing because it’s caused people to really analyze their lifestyles and realize that “stuff” doesn’t make you happy and that it’s very easily taken away from you. I didn’t go into the environmental field to help trash our environment and I’m thankful that there are rules and regulations that allow us to take care of it. My frustration lies with extremists (on both sides!). Thanks for the comment!

  2. Its interesting that the cry is “NIMBY!” when local residents demand protection of their environment from irresponsible development and “outsiders!” when people from outside the region try to protect the local environment.

    I am sure you can find people who want to close down the local mining industry, but I have never met anyone who advocates that. In fact most people take the red hills of iron ore and pit lakes that the iron mines leave behind as part of our natural environment. It was those “NIMBY’s and OUTSIDERS!” who forced the mining companies to plant something on those hills instead of just leaving the bare rock.

    The current cry of “NIMBY and OUTSIDERS” has nothing to do with the existing mining industry. It is really an effort to prevent a discussion of how to best mitigate the environmental impacts of a copper-nickel mining. That industry has a long history of leaving behind, not picturesque hills and clean lakes, but a spreading sulphuric wasteland.

    Its not at all clear that US environmental regulations have been any more effective in preventing that than those in developing countries. Minnesota’s regulations have never actually been tested. The primary interest of the mining industry is in keeping the costs of those regulations as low as possible.

    If the costs of operations in Minnesota are too high, the companies will have to wait until metal prices reach a level to make mining profitable. The debate is not really whether these metals will be mined but when. Now, under relatively inexpensive and lax regulations, or later when prices will make it profitable under much stricter and more expensive regulations.

    Most of these companies have limited their liability by forming separate companies that go out of business once the local ore is gone. But if you require them to include the full costs of cleaning up after themselves in the price of their products, it may not be immediately profitable at current world prices.

    • Awesome comments Ross! This is exactly the discussion I was hoping to see. Thank you for contributing, I hope people take the time to read your comments. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope to address (soon) the issues you brought up because I think there’s a lot to investigate and consider and as always, reality is a shade of gray ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. very interesting rant. i like it!

    • Thanks Mindy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. It will soon be 13 years since I saw that shy li’l red-head in the back of the honors chemistry lab, and every year she impresses me even more than the last! Bravo!

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