The longtime sentiment of “Not In My Back Yard,” or NIMBY, by New Hampshire residents regarding potential infrastructure projects has taken on a more oppositional tone (and acronym) as of late – they’ve all gone BANANAs.
A recent article in the Union Leader describes the BANANA stance as “Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.” While NIMBYs seem to understand the real need for infrastructure they may not want to personally see, BANANAs are taking it a step further in the negative direction, according to Charlie M. Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank located in Concord.
“Lately we seem to have graduated to tropical fruit,” writes Arlinghaus in the Union Leader article published May 5. “Every new project is opposed for some reason or another, often for any reason at all. There seems to be an active and vocal group traipsing from one meeting to another seeking to stop anything new from happening.”
To an outsider it would seem that the residents of New Hampshire have some hidden death wish that is now beginning to reveal itself in strange, masochistic political activism. By giving these BANANAs the benefit of the doubt, we assume they are smart enough to know that New Hampshire’s current energy situation is not good and that its business climate is suffering as it struggles to retain old businesses, attract new businesses, and keep its workforce.
If you have been following the evolution of the Northern Pass and its opposition, you are by now surely frustrated with the slow teeter-totter of its progress, or lack thereof. Someone needs to ask these BANANAs a few questions:
- How will New Hampshire survive if its residents cannot afford to buy energy because it is priced too high?
- How will residents be able to survive if there are no more jobs left after every company has left the state to do profitable business elsewhere?
Maybe the BANANAs have not thought that far into the future, and consequently, not thought too much about survival and the concessions and compromises that might take. Those who oppose the Northern Pass, these BANANAs, posture themselves as “supporters of the green movement” and “conservationists,” but what are they conserving, and at what expense?
It is understandable that some New Hampshire residents do not want to see power lines while hiking in the White Mountain Forest, but it does not make sense that a lack of infrastructure should be at the expense of the economic and social well-being of the people in their communities. Looked at exclusively through the lens of nature conservancy, without any regard for people, the BANANAs could be defined as “conservationists.” Looked at through the lens of economic, political, and social welfare, the BANANAs could be better defined as fatalists.
If New Hampshire was nothing but green space with no residents, the BANANA agenda would make sense. But there are people in New Hampshire – we are the people of New Hampshire. The BANANAs don’t seem to understand that.
“If you believe a banana, life is grand, and all those people worried about jobs are just being silly,” Arlinghaus concludes in the article. “Actually, if we’re being fair, most of them don’t care. Their analysis has only gone as far as: Don’t build it. They presume the juice for their iPhone and electric car will materialize some other way. Exactly how is someone else’s problem.”
Because of this, we need to do all that we can to solve our current economic, environmental, and energy crisis with responsibility not only for New Hampshire’s land, but for its people.