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View Diary: Something to take your mind off indictments: Windfarm blogging (169 comments)

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  •  An inevitable lone comment on this thread (4.00)
    As Jerome is aware, we here in Wales have a hatred of windfarms.

    We are a people whose valleys were ripped apart for the creation of coal mines, where our men worked and died for the absent colliery owners by digging deep into the earth in unsafe seams and the shifting mountains of waste have poured down and killed our children in their school rooms and our villages blown up and our people forcibly removed to provide hydro-electric power for industry.

    We remember this and just this week a spurned formal government apology for the past is to be made to our people for the last of these inflictions  on our green land.

    Now we have windfarms striding our mountains and  our seascapes, pushed by the financial investors who receive the grants that are needed to make them viable and by a government who want them as an easier answer than the politically tougher emission-saving decisions. A government  that finds it easier to promote windfarms than making industry clean up its act, easier than reducing fuel consumption in motor vehicles and easier to dismiss three million fucking (to quote Blair's actual words) Welsh people, who don't vote for him and his corrupt policies in any case. Certainly the easier option than lose  party funding and support of the industrialists and financiers.

    Yes, we pick up our dead birds from the foot of the huge blades of the turbines. Each time it is mentioned on here, the same tired table is produced to show the number of birds killed is less than by our cars or by many other aspects of our energy producing and consuming society. Even if the figure for wind turbine bird kills in that table was true, some of us do not believe that we are in the game of adding to the deaths of our wildlife but are supposed to be reducing them (and the only truth is that no comprehensive research has been done - unless you discount the most recent Australian research which shows just how many birds are really killed).

    What distresses me most is that my posts which are an alert to all who love their wild lands and open spaces are met by tens of comments all denouncing me in the same language and words as the powerful wind turbine industry spokesmen and their false arguments.

    Well, who the hell are a few Welshmen in a country of a size that would be lost in a corner of Texas to plead for our and your environment?

    These issues have not yet arisen in France, where development has been slower. They may come as they make rapid strides to catch up on wind energy, although it is a much larger country in size than the UK and more easily able to absorb a greater number . The reaction against windfarms has come, however, in those who have invested most in them and longest like Denmark, who have cut back on their programme, and in Germany.

    Of course in the United States, you have even greater space, you have wonderful open deserts that many see as fit only for turning into cheap housing development land if you can pump in enough water and you have the wide open plains that are empty of anything but crops and herds. Industry can afford to drain hundreds of miles of wetland, agro-business can afford to leach the plains of their natural fertility and habitats can be surfaced over and it makes hardly a blip on the vast and extensive wealth of the natural beauty of your wonderful country. It will take quite a large number of wind farms before they become a common and everyday sight.

    Yes, the photographs of the huge turbines with their elegant sweeping blades silhouetted against a blue sky is a beautiful man made piece of engineering architecture.

    One Scottish local authority even recorded that their wind-farm across one of their mountain ranges actually increased tourism, as people came in their cars to view these new features as they drove past them and were tempted to go closer to examine their attractive structure.

    Sadly, though, their kids will never be able to get out of their cars again and walk across those wild upland places free from the sight of those structures and experience that thrill of suddenly seeing, framed only against the wild sky and the racing clouds, the proud antlers of a wild stag as it surveys the empty hills and moors around it. In all honesty, they don't care. They wouldn't have got out of their cars in any case.

    Of course I am not against wind farms in principle. I am for them in terms of the contribution that they will be able to make to cleaner energy. I know that they need subsidies, that they are heavily energy consuming in their manufacture and have a relatively short life and that they deteriorate into ugliness before the reluctant investors decommission them. Yet there are strong arguments in their favour.

    I just hope that one or two on DKos will care enough about the environment, though, to keep a watch on the powerful industry lobby and financial investors that are backing these industrial sites and where they want to put these things. I hope that there will be those concerned that some of the best places are on those migratory routes where the wind blows steadiest and strongest and in those wild open plains where their visibility is at their greatest.

    I have read the posts on here about the "Not in my back yard" attitude of people and those who sneer at those wealthy people who opposed the desecration of the seascape around Cape Cod. You are right, screw 'em and their large summer mansions and their yachting playgrounds and weekend love nests. It doesn't matter to me. You see, I have not been to Martha's Vineyard since the 1970's and there is no way that I could afford to even rent a place there. I just slept in my car for a weekend and walked, and walked and I loved the area. I have few photographs, but I still have the  guide books and route maps. They are a bit tattered and old now but I still read them and I can enjoy the memory of that area that instilled in me a life long love of that place of the land and sea and the wild Atlantic winds.

    I am too old to go back there again in what remains of my life, so I guess it doesn't matter what you do to it.

    I just wish, somehow, someday, your kids could have had the same chance to walk those paths I followed and look out and see nothing but the grey sea right to the horizon where it got lost in the greyer sky.

    No. I understand that once again my post will be bitterly rejected by the vast majority of Kossacks, and that those who see beauty in these structures from a distance will be bemused and Jerome will see it as somehow an attack on something that is dear to him. It's O.K. My people have to say these things because it is almost too late for us now but we want others to be forewarned. What seems seductively beautiful in form, what seems so environmentally sound in principle can so easily be turned into another coal waste of a spoiled landscape and a drowned heritage of a valley community.

    The money and greed of some powerful forces can spoil anything; please, one or two Kossacks, watch them carefully. Meanwhile, I will join my friends picking up the dead Red Kites and other raptors, removing the identifcation rings that was placed on them as part of the re-introduction programme for these species and make another simple record in the book provided by the wildlife trust.

    New International Times, the place where Kossacks and the world meet.

    by Welshman on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 07:57:08 PM PDT

    •  You raise an interesting point... (none)
      ... among several, of course. But hey you Kossacks - does anyone know if there is any work being done to reduce the number of bird kills we see around these towers?  Wind and birds go hand and hand (or wing and wing), of course, but is there any research that any one knows of into ways that the damage can be lessened, if not eliminated? Would love to see a link...

      Many possibilities are open to you - work a little harder.

      by Rainman on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 08:34:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Eloquent as always (none)
    •  A thought-provoking perspective (none)
      There are no easy answers to alternative energy development. Thanks for reminding us.
    •  Human & Nature (none)
      I agree wholeheartedly even as I understand the need for these giant Don Quixotes and their own sort of Gargantuan beauty.  I can only hope that wise heads will prevail in saving a few cherished landscapes for those of us who enjoy walking the Lakes district and imagining how it spoke to Wordsworth, or Mont Sainte-Victoire and how it speaks to us still through Cezanne, or the Finger Lakes area and the world it represented for tribes now gone.  I think in the US we'd want to spare Half-Dome in Yosemite, a few spectacular peaks like Kilaueia and Mts. Shasta, St. Helens and Rainier, a few choice sections along the Adirondack Trail...

      There is much to be said for original beauty, for the unique fascination of natural ecosystems whose complexity and interconnectedness is inexhaustible on whatever scale with which we aproach them.  I might add that I would seriously doubt the humanity of anyone who doesn't believe this along with me.  When those dwindling econiches are gone, will we still be human?

      Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water.

      by Bob Love on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 09:24:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've always admired your eloquence ... (none)
      ...even when I've disagreed with you - no easy matter considering your eloquence and skill at argument are twins.

      And many of the points you raise are good ones.

      But, unless we're prepared to reduce the world's population by 5.5 billion or so, and willing to live  simple lives the way some people still do in, say, Hay-on-Wye, Craignor and Iona, then we're going to need energy. For that purpose, those turbines are neither so deadly nor so unsightly as slag heaps or the headframe of a colliery. And they don't contribute to the global climate change that will, if unchecked, turn all that Welsh greenery into dust.

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