An article describes the “plight” of a man who doesn’t like wind turbines:
He hates the sight and he hates the sound. He can’t stand the gigantic flickering shadows the blades cast at certain points in the day.
But what this brawny 48-year-old farmer’s son hates most about the wind turbines is that his father signed a deal with the wind company to allow seven of them on Yancey land.
“Is it worth destroying families, pitting neighbor against neighbor, father against son?” asks John Yancey, whose family has farmed Tug Hill for generations. “Is it worth destroying a whole way of life?”
Similar questions are being asked across the country as more small towns grapple with big money and big wind. For many, the changes are worth it. With rising oil and gas prices and growing concerns about global warming, wind is becoming an attractive alternative.
The Maple Ridge project produces enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes. Other wind projects are going up all over the state. T. Boone Pickens is talking about building a $10 billion wind project in the Texas panhandle. Everyone, it seems, is talking about wind.
This makes me speechless. I feel the writing equivalent of sputtering and stammering. H-O-L-Y C-R-A-P!!!!
Wind is the single bright spot in America’s otherwise dismal non-response to the clear and present danger of CO2-induced climate-change. Wind power is clean, renewable, and will also make our electricity production and usage visible and conscious. I’d be overjoyed to have one of these beautiful machines (or several) on my land. And get a check in the mail every month? Are you kidding me? What’s not to like?
Apparently, some people just don’t like looking at them. Or hearing them. And this is not new. The Cape Wind project has been delayed for years by this kind of nonsense. (previous article) These are the NIMBYs (not-in-my-back-yard). Now comes Dr. Nina Pierpont claiming that wind turbines cause negative health effects. I recall similar bogus claims being made about now-ubiquitous Wi-Fi. I find it funny how these claims always peter out after the technology has been widely accepted and it’s not going away. Only new technologies incur the ire of hypochondriacs, and only just when they’re being introduced. Here’s a cartoon from 100 years ago about what people thought would happen as electric power lines were installed in cities.
But the more important point is that right now, electricity generation is completely in the shadows. It’s all out-of-sight and out-of-mind. Mountaintop-removal coal mining increasingly is being used to get at the fuel which primarily provides America’s power. And scarce natural gas which soon may have to be imported from other parts of the world. And nuclear, which though it’s proven pretty safe over the past 50 years, accumulates thousands of tons of added high-level radioactive waste every year. This waste builds up at hundreds of plant sites around the country–near population centers, and above ground. It’s the height of stupidity.
Why is the nuke waste just sitting around? Nevada’s got it’s own NIMBYs. They’re highly incensed about the Yucca Mountain repository, and it’s been delayed repeatedly as people fret about 10,000 year vs. million year certifications for safety. What?? Humans haven’t ever done anything on those kinds of timescales. We should be worrying about the next hundred years, and what might happen to global temperatures, sea levels, and water resources during that time.
But back to wind. Let’s analyze what this man is saying. First of all, it’s a family dispute. Doesn’t belong as a national news story. Why is it considered newsworthy? Because as wind power gets built out around the country, we can expect throngs of NIMBY ninnies like Yancey to crop up everywhere–standing in the way of what should be a no-brainer energy solution. They’ll be cheered on as heroes by those who think “preserving a way of life”–whatever that means–should be done at the expense of vital global concerns. The re-branding of wind energy from environmental savior to industrial villain has begun.
I say anyone who opposes wind power gets their electricity feed yanked–immediately. Or heavily taxed. Or something. Because that’s what they’re trying to do to the rest of us. Coal burning is literally sickening and killing people, and it may yet destroy the climate. Now that we have exported a lot of manufacturing to China, they’re dealing with the choking pollution to make our products for us. But make no mistake, even in the U.S., we pay the price as mercury and radioactivity from coal invade the food-chain, particulates foul the air, and CO2 belches out non-stop, putting our consumption burden squarely on our grandchildren. Now that’s a family dispute we should be talking about!
We’ve been spoiled for a century, getting our power from sources we don’t have to look at. Men used to labor underground, getting black lungs and dropping like flies so that others could flip a light switch. Though safety has improved, people still die by the dozens around the world in coal mine accidents every year. I wonder how Yancey would compare his “annoyance” at wind turbines to the literal choking death people used to have to put up with to get electricity? How times change. Wind power connects our consumption to something visible and audible, and that’s a beautiful thing. I think the thrrup-thrrup of a wind turbine should be music to our ears. It tells us we’re being accountable, sustainable, paying as we go. And this connects us back in some small way to the fact that we are part of a larger ecosystem.
We can expect NIMBYs like Yancey to fight the inevitable energy transition every step of the way–slowing progress and making lawyers rich. They’re misguided and short-sighted, and they lack any perspective outside of the narrowest form of self-interest. They expect the whole of society to continue to consume deadly fossil fuels to soothe their precious aesthetic preferences, and they ought to be ashamed of themselves.