“If you’re a crop,” Corrin sneered, “how come we can’t see what you produce? Anyway, I hear a lot of the neighbors are upset about the way you’ve changed the countryside.”
“Well duh…” Sol R. Panell shot back. “Of course you can’t see the electrons I make. But they’re just as real as those silky ears you so haughtily wave around. Just ask anyone who flips a switch and expects the lights to come on.”
“Humph…so you produce some energy,” Corrin retorted. “I can produce both food and ethanol energy. You don’t belong here atop of my poor, dear old friend, Anne. Don’t you agree, Anne? What to do think?” Corrin was sure Anne would feel the same way. After all, Corrin’s ancestors had populated these fields for generations. Cropland was supposed to be for crops you harvest with a baler or combine.
“I think,” Anne began quietly, “that humans are finally realizing that my soil is a limited and precious resource. They need to use me as wisely as possible. Actually, I’ve been doing a bit of homework. Get this! Over a million acres (almost 8%) of Wisconsin farmland is used for growing corn for ethanol. But acre for acre, solar can produce about 100 time the amount of energy that growing corn for ethanol can. In fact, to reach Wisconsin’s goal of zero carbon emissions by using solar, it would require only about 1.5% of Wisconsin’s farmland, just a fraction of that ethanol-corn ground. It seems like using a relatively small amount of farmland for solar is actually a fairly prudent trade-off,” she concluded.
“Oh dear,” Corrin reflected. “I did hear Farmer Brown grumbling about the high cost of fertilizer and fuel. And then there’s often soil erosion and runoff polluting our waterways when growing me and my family.”
Perched near-by, Rob Inn heard the heated debate. “Complicated issues – indeed!” he chirped. “It’s not easy to change old habits and practices. But those clever humans will work it out, and they must. Because after all, this is our only home where we’re all forever…Earthbound.”