Disappointingly, nobody has so far dared venture an opposing point of view in the comments section of this blog, despite open invitations to all those whose pro-wind policies and propaganda I have criticised. The best dialogue has thus far all come from fellow Wind Warriors!
Hence it’s left for me to debate myself, to try and come up with my own antitheses to the points made on this blog. This requires a degree of empathy: genuinely trying to step inside the shoes of those who might have the opposite opinion, attempting to see the world through their eyes, and trying to consider how my plain speaking makes you readers feel. It really does matter how we make people feel – I know, because this whole blog is all about how wind turbines make ME feel, and I myself took issue with the emotionless man from Friends Of The Earth at the Gorpley planning meeting who seemed too technocratic in his approach, too dismissive of human emotion, too stuck on a list of numbers on a piece of paper, and not passionate enough about the magic of the wild, unspoilt moors.
The trick, of course, is to have head and heart in lockstep. As long as emotions are tightly attached to facts and science, we are functioning exactly the way we were intended. Amygdala hijacks (if you’ve forgotten, they’re sudden, intense rushes of negative emotion, aka temper tantrums, freakouts, meltdowns etc etc) are perfectly explicable and in keeping with the laws of nature. Annoy your cat if you don’t believe me! The scratch marks on your arm will be a direct result of science and feelings coming together in your moggie’s brain.
I have to prove that my negative feelings have a rational, logical and scientifically explainable cause. What I ask those with the opposite opinion to do is to pick apart where the negative emotions displayed in this blog seem out of alignment with hard science, and that’s where the high-level intellectual discourse and detective work come in. My words are evidence that wind turbines have had a negative impact on my feelings; the challenge is to work out, with hard science, what the exact physiological process is. Is it triggered by the look, the sound, the concept etc? Is it only when things go wrong that symptoms set in (eg corruption, malpractice etc), or is it the very essence of wind turbines working exactly as they are meant to that sets me off?
This blog is basically an extended and public journal of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on myself, done in public to submit the findings for “peer review”, and also to provide inspiration and support to those who might also be suffering, but haven’t got the time or wherewithal to really go to town on the topic. On a wider note, it’s also part of my concerted effort to remove any stigma about mental health being something only people with problems need to concern themselves with. Far from it, we should all be mindful of our mental health at all times, in exactly the same way we are conscious of our physical health.
Feel free to call me names if you don’t like reading what I have to say, but a much more useful and constructive use of time would be to cross-examine me forensically, in order to prove which of my claims don’t stack up scientifically..
Because I rarely talk about wind energy outside the context of a serious in-depth discussion with those who have some knowledge of the topic, I can only draw upon a handful of real-life, pro-wind points of view to challenge my own opinions. They derive mainly from two sources: (a) those who have proven with their actions that they support wind turbines – whether it be developers, councils, landowners or advertisers; and (b) comments in online debates, which offer scant information about the identity of the posters, merely the opinions themselves.
Not that I want to stalk them or attack them on the street for supporting wind; but it would be nice to get some more information about the demographics of those who post pro-wind comments on web forums, even nicer still to engage with them in a more detailed discourse on the topic. What sort of areas do they live in? Where are their nearest turbines? On what do they base their opinions about wind energy? How old are they? Are they for real or are they part of an astroturf campaign? As it is, I just have to guess and intuit from the limited information available.
There is another awkward question that I’d love to be asked from these mysterious posters on The Guardian. You’ll get a better debate here between I and I than you will on the whole Grauniad website, so grab some popcorn…
I certainly wasn’t bothered in the slightest by having someone in The Guardian call my opening post “Bollocks” (presumably that also includes the 63 peer-reviewed examples of “bollocks” I linked to!); far from it, I wanted to reach out and talk more to this person, to find out why they thought what they did, and to ask them if, say, a Drive-Thru McDonalds taking over their local nature reserve would be equally as “majestic” as a power station on a mountain?! Sadly, The Guardian yanked me out the room before I’d even taken off my coat and gloves!
So here’s the question:
Taking their comments at face value, there are still an awful lot of people on The Guardian’s website who like wind farms and don’t have a problem with them. Why is your opinion more important than theirs? Why should the government favour your anti-wind farm position over those who like wind farms?
It’s precisely because wind farm supporters’ opinions are important to me that I try to engage with them and find out more about what makes them tick! I just want to learn WHY they think what they think, and what I would say to everyone is: if you found out your reason for thinking something was based on a lie, or merely false claims with no real basis on reality, would you still think it?
Were someone to put their hands up and say, “You know, I realise the wind industry really isn’t “saving the planet” as it claims, but, that said, I still like the look of turbines; moors are kind of boring and these metallic spiders make the skyline more interesting…”, that’d be a valid, intellectually-sound, if aesthetically-challenged, viewpoint. It’s one I call the “Guilty Pleasure” viewpoint, and each of us has things we know logically to be wrong, but we still like. That’s fine, that’s part of being human! It’s why we call gorgeous chocolate gateau “Death By Chocolate” om nom… but would you really take someone seriously who claimed chocolate cake could replace toothpaste; for optimum dental health simply stuff your face with cake all afternoon?!
I sometimes wonder if I do the flipside: that the very act of being a Wind Warrior is in itself a Guilty Pleasure, that the science really is settled that wind turbines are a force for good, and it’s just an excuse for me to prance about like some cheesy TV cop, wasting everyone’s time and energy when science and progress are clearly against me? I ask myself this every day, when even I wonder if this is an absurd topic to devote so much time and effort to. However the self-doubt lasts precisely as long as it takes for my news feed to pop up with some new incident of gratuitous eco-destruction and crimes against humanity. Stuff like this:
Therefore, rather than shutting out opposing opinions, l’d rather reach out and specifically ask those supporters of wind power WHY they like it so much. Do stories like the above have any bearing on their support for wind power schemes? What would make them stop supporting them? I’ve even done this myself regarding Sajid Javid, and I’ve kept it all up there as an example of critical thinking in action. I spent the first half of a blog entry singing his praises, before returning at the end of the blog to say I’ve found out more information that has modified my opinion somewhat; I still like him and give him the benefit of the doubt, but blindly supporting him would have unintended consequences were I not to acknowledge that he might want to build loads of houses all over the countryside.
That’s what I ask of wind supporters. Do some critical thinking and let me know where you draw the line. Wind turbines on Arthur’s Seat? Great Gable? Mam Tor??? Let’s work together to come to an agreement about what is acceptable and what’s not. Nuance and keeping an open mind are essential, whilst never losing sight of our core beliefs… If we MUST have wind turbines, let’s have a proper conversation about where to put them, what their effects are, do they actually do what it says on the tin, and what penalties are in place should they do more harm than good?
To prove the point even further about the need to deal with opposing opinions, here’s (gasp) a video that looks, on the surface, like a pure Win for wind energy. I’d be lying were I not to incorporate this into the discourse…
See, I’ll always give voice to those opposite opinions! The retort to that one is actually quite easy, in fact. Of course Scotland’s wind capacity is at an all-time high, there’s more wind turbines built than they’ve ever had before! If I buy more speakers I can play my music louder, duh. Plaster the countryside with millions of turbines and I daresay when the wind blows you will indeed be able to generate more electricity than if you had fewer turbines, that goes without saying.
The trouble is, when you have days like these…
And what happens when, no matter how much wind power you can generate, you still end up with higher CO2 emissions???
So, let’s just recap. I’m not saying my opinions on wind farms are any more important than anyone else’s and that we shouldn’t listen to pro-wind supporters, or that they should be “splattered” for daring to have an opinion that I don’t share. Rather than belittle or sideline those who might have an opposing opinion, I am proactively reaching out to them to learn more about WHY they support wind energy.
I’ve merely presented scientific evidence that wind farms increase incidences of suicide, they lower property prices and spoil landscapes, they don’t work almost 75% of the time, and even when they do work, they don’t actually lower CO2 emissions.
I’m simply asking if any of this changes anyone’s opinion about wind farms. Now you know that they trigger suicides, they destroy the natural wilderness, and they don’t even lower CO2 emissions anyway… what exactly about them DO you like???
EDIT: Craven Council have replied to my FOI Request, and their short (but relatively prompt) reply only confirms what I’ve been saying all along: they keep no performance metrics for the turbines under their jurisdiction, they allow them with absolutely no knowledge of whether they do any good or not.
THIS IS MADNESS!
“I confirm that the Council does not hold any recorded information to answer your request. However, to be helpful you may wish to contact the National Grid who may have details on surplus energy provided to the Grid by such wind turbines:
Well thanks for replying Craven… yet again you make my point for me:
EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL! EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL! EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL!
Essentially Craven are saying, “Don’t look at us to take responsibility for the turbines on our watch. We just allow them to infect our countryside. We don’t have a clue whether they actually do any good or not. And it’s not our issue anyway…” Well it damn well should be!
And what’s all this about “surplus energy supplied to the Grid by such wind turbines”? What does “surplus” mean?
“More than what is needed or used; excess”
So it appears that Craven Council have just admitted (perhaps deliberately, although they couldn’t possibly comment…) that any energy produced by wind turbines is totally surplus to requirements, totally superfluous, totally unnecessary and of absolutely no benefit whatsoever to an efficient and effective energy supply. What a complete and utter waste of space!