Sure enough, a huge flock of little green birds flew past him heading north. “Aha, spring is on the way!” Bucky exclaimed. As he continued his journey to Lake Michigan and then north, dozens of expansive, green flocks passed high overhead. Oddly, only a few of them were heading north. The others whizzed by every which way. “Look at all those green-backed Benjis!” he heard a passerby say. “Strange name for a bird,” thought Bucky, and he decided to investigate.
That evening Bucky scoured bird websites only to learn that these so-called green-backed Benjis aren’t birds at all! It’s just a term folks use to describe the “Benjamins” ($100 bills) that fly out of Wisconsin by the millions each year. This migration of over $14 billion represents what Wisconsin sends out-of-state annually to pay for fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Each year, those energy dollars fly out of OUR state to enhance SOMEBODY ELSE’s economy.
As he continued his trek around the state, Bucky learned that Wisconsin is one of the largest “energy deficit” states in the country even though we have our own renewable energy resources and could keep many of those dollars right here. A conversion to in-state renewables — like wind and solar — for both our electricity needs and for powering vehicles would create jobs, increase the tax base, and clean the environment.
“It’s a great idea! But where to begin?” Bucky wondered. He’d already rounded the top of the state and was following the Mississippi River southward when who should he see but Herky Hawkeye, proudly perched on an Iowa bluff! Bucky Badger told his old rival all about the problem of Wisconsin’s energy dollars “flying” away to other states.
“We used to have that problem too,” Herky replied. “But now we’re keeping more Benjis right here at home. Come on over sometime, and I’ll tell you all about it.”
READ THE ENTRY BELOW - In it Herky will relate how several northeast Iowa counties are creating sustainable economies while nurturing a healthy environment. Worthy goals for us all. Here on our only home where we’re forever… Earthbound.