Human Influence

My sit-spot, while feeling untouched within my particular 20 foot radius, is actually heavily influenced by human activity upon further inspection… more than simple wear and tear on a walking path and the occasional piece of litter strewn across the landscape. Biking to the Intervale, I realized that the McNeil Generating Station was directly adjacent to the woods in which I was exploring. The McNeil Generating Station is designed to use biomass as a heating material, which as I’ve learned in Environmental Science 1, is not all it’s cracked up to be. Biomass plants emit high levels of carbon dioxide and essentially all of the same air pollutants as a coal-fired plant, such as asthma-inducing particulate matter and carcinogenic VOC’s. Additionally, biomass energy  consumes a quite a bit of trees, and deforestation can degrade and compact forest soils, cause erosion, and ruin waterways. It has even been said that this facility is the biggest polluter in Vermont.

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