“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” – Aldo Leopold
A newly coined word, windschmerz, describes the sinking feeling of witnessing a huge industrial plague being spun as good for the environment despite its obvious negative impacts. If this is the new environmentalism, nature has little chance of remaining intact, on top of all the other pressures Man applies. Wind power has gained a momentum that’s hard to stop because an Environmental-Industrial Complex has grown around it. When thousands or millions of jobs depend on something, moral objectivity becomes nearly impossible. Germany has been a test-case for this misguided form of progress with its Energiewende mandate that caused alarm decades ago with only a fraction of today’s turbine numbers. The landscape destruction is so egregious that many people literally can’t perceive what they’re seeing, especially if their incomes depend on it. A whole government/industry PR wing is dedicated to muting the continual protests over new projects.
Windschmerz is a variant of weltschmerz (world pain or sadness) focused on a specific technology that’s destroying nature while claiming to save the planet. Are there any safe vistas where the wind blows? The industry seems happy to keep trashing scenery and wildlife until these eyesores are too thick for even the most deluded Greens. It used to be conservatives who didn’t respect landscapes but liberals have been successfully brainwashed by these scenery-eaters. It happened on the sly without adequate warning, mainly in Europe at first. Clean energy is looking quite dirty to objective eyes.
There are several main ways people create unnatural landscapes:
- Gouging or drilling into soil & rock (mining, blasting, road-building and wells)
- Removing plant cover (logging, fire-clearing for farms, etc.)
- Building structures on the land (cities and everything that supports them)
Wind energy projects do all of the above except for deep drilling, and they are now the tallest structures in rural areas and especially on mountaintops; taller than many city skyscrapers. Wind power advocates ignore or downplay those obvious impacts, and ride on the psychological notion that anything fighting carbon (truly or ostensibly) must not be causing harm. It’s a very narrow definition of harm, convenient to the wind industry’s agenda of grabbing subsidies for major construction projects.
No matter how many zealots call them “beautiful,” wind turbines will always impact millions of people and animals in negative ways. The industry wants to expand what we see today by orders of magnitude if they can get away with it. These machines are a colossal aesthetic blunder that doesn’t require number-crunching to analyze. All you need is eyes, ears and environmental awareness. They aren’t replacing older industrial scars like coal mines; they’re just adding to the total human impact. The moment wind turbines began expanding beyond their experimental beginnings and corporations got involved, it was inevitable that this would happen. The goal is to make them as tall as possible to catch elusive winds, which means they will never become less visible. It’s also a pipe dream that they can be made quiet or safe for flying animals. Most people in the industry must know this, which makes them doubly full of it.
Wind energy is the opposite of small-footprint thinking that real environmentalists should favor. It thrives on a single-action bias that fails to consider total environmental impact. It’s part of the same engineering mindset that destroys nature for money in the fossil fuel business. The standard ploy is that carbon is THE environmental demon and must be fought at any cost, though many wind farm workers are interchangeable with frackers. They are industrial mercenaries who do what they’re told and cash their checks. At least the old environmental villains weren’t overtly trying to fool people.
The next time you look at a horizon full of mutant pinwheels and windschmerz hits you, just let it happen. Then get angry and join the fight to stop them. Here are some links to help with that.