Natural beauty has always been cherished by environmentalists, but some tree-huggers seem to have an excessive preoccupation with appearances. Last week, the Kerry branch of An Taisce called for a ban on wind farms in "scenic areas".
The call was made in a submission to Kerry County Council, which is reportedly considering the location of wind turbines in beauty spots such as the Iveragh and Beara peninsulas.
An Taisce's outrage at the potential despoilment of some of the country's loveliest countryside is understandable. Wind farms are ugly and noisy, a blight on the landscape. They are also expensive, inefficient and unreliable.
However, the argument that scenic areas alone should be spared these monstrosities is downright discriminatory.
An Taisce has done much admirable work. But its hypocritical stance on the issue of wind farms -- not in my beautiful backyard -- highlights the piety, double-think and snobbery that characterises much of the environmental movement. Beauty, after all, is a subjective judgment and one man's breathtaking vista is another man's yawn-inducing vacuum.
Picturesque scenery is easy to defend but unsightly surroundings -- the plains -- also deserve An Taisce's protection.
True friends of the Earth would call for wind turbines to be banned throughout the land.