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Are Aesthetics Really That Important?

By Giorgia Piantanida

Recently, I've been doing a lot of reading on renewable energy sources, and have been trying to understand why people would be against building and using them. Among the many arguments against renewables, the one that frustrated me most has to be the "aesthetic" argument.

Take, for example, solar power farms and solar panels on the roofs of homes. People argue that the way they look are not natural and they take away from the beauty of either the natural landscape or someone's home. They argue that the way the panels look are simply "ugly" and they don't want to have to look at them, even knowing all the environmental and financial benefits.

I believe there is value in understanding both sides of an argument. However, I cannot understand why the way something looks can influence people so much in choosing whether or not to get solar panels. People who make this argument seem to care more about how the environment around them looks than all the benefits of solar power. They argue that they want it to look as natural as possible. Yet by abstaining from any kind of "ugly" renewables, they contribute to ruining the natural environment around them anyway. This isn't an argument that makes sense to me.

Perhaps, we will change the look of solar panels, and people will decide that the panels are pretty enough to be seen in public. Or perhaps, people will realize environmentally friendly energy is important and must be implemented in order to save the natural beauty around us. After all, people were originally disdainful of the aesthetics of the Eiffel Tower and today it is one of the most beloved modern icons. But I guess only time will tell.

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