First up, for news regarding the Hendy Wind Scam, please read this blow-by-blow account of the latest corruption, eco-destruction and antisocial behaviour carried out by the developers. Once again, a million thanks to Jac o’ the North for assimilating all the hard facts and making them available to the public.
I look on in awe and admiration at the peaceful protesters, painstakingly and assiduously collecting evidence of wrong-doing, whilst all around their hills are being trashed, against their will and without their consent. Out in the field, wind farm protesters are the gentlest, meekest souls you could ever hope to meet. They know intuitively that adding any more destruction to that already caused by the scammers would be appalling for the environment.
Meanwhile in cyberspace there is a life or death battle going on for the very survival of the wind industry. Those of us involved see it as a cerebral battle of logic, reason and ideas, the best of which will ultimately form government policy. Unfortunately this intellectual battle has thus far had no impartial referee, no set of Queensberry rules, no official terms of engagement, and so it’s very much down to the personal integrity of each participant as to how desperate they are to win. I’ve publicly ruled out homicide, and reluctantly accepted the law of the land as to the illegality of using firearms and explosives to shoo the scammers away. Direct phone conversations don’t generally end well, and so I’m left with sharing words and pictures on the internet. That’s just fine though: give me a good online debate to get stuck into and I’ll certainly do my bit to reduce public support for wind energy!
The wind industry proved to me again this week that, in order to survive in the transparency of the internet age, it is forced to rely upon pseudoscience and brainwashing. Just like Scientology, really. And I guess that makes me a “Suppressive Person”, or at least a “Potential Trouble Source” to the wind racket.
I can live with that…
Calling wind energy a racket is not to claim outright that we can’t indeed generate a bit of electricity from the wind. Rather it’s to say: the wind industry has a hidden agenda beyond supposedly “saving the planet”. Other than money and power, it’s difficult to see what that hidden agenda could be, so let’s for now follow the principle of Occam’s Razor and stick with these simple motives, unless more complicated alternative explanations come along.
As it currently stands, it’s reasonable to assume the real agenda for promoting wind energy is to obtain money and power.
Regular readers probably play Buzzword Bingo with my admittedly repetitive columns (I often repeat myself in order that people need only read one or two entries to get the gist; plus over time I’m able to refine and streamline complicated ideas into pithier soundbites, and I like to show my workings along the way to get to that point!). Anyway, let’s play: you get ten points for each “wind scammers”, twenty points for each “eco-destruction on an industrial scale”, and a massive fifty points every time you read the term “amygdala hijack”. Do you want to see what one looks like? Here’s a famous example of an amygdala hijack, triggered by what I was just talking about: Scientology.
This is what human beings do by design, when fed a surfeit of passive-aggressive, victim-blaming, gaslighting BS. I don’t know why we act surprised when people get this way. We know and understand that a tormented animal will attack, a lesson most children learn (especially those with pets) from a tiny, tiny age, barely even four.
Some adults still haven’t learnt that lesson, and they goad and goad people until they snap. Maybe we’ve all been guilty of it at times – I know I have, and generally I acknowledge it’s a dick move. On the rare occasion I’ve triggered people until they’ve flipped out, I always ended up reaping whatever bad karma I sowed.
I understand what it means to be aggressive, and I understand what it means to be passive-aggressive. I’m sure you all do too, dear readers. But not so our wind scam friends, unless their ignorance is really dumb insolence on a scale almost unimaginable.
Let me elaborate: I was alerted to an online “debate”, entitled “New Analysis: Wind Energy Developers Leaving Field Of Social Media To NIMBYs”. I’m not even going to do them the courtesy of linking to it; search for yourselves if you really want!
As I’ve said numerous times, I’ve never actually met a genuine anti-wind NIMBY in my life. Such fictional characters simply don’t exist, well not according to the true meaning of the term (ie “Feel free to build them anywhere else… just not in MY back yard!”). Almost every anti-wind activist I know is against inappropriate wind blight EVERYWHERE, whether one mile away or a hundred thousand.
Despite this early logical flaw undermining the article’s basic premise before it had even reached the end of the title, the changing nature of online discourse regarding wind energy is nonetheless a topic that neatly and succinctly segues from my own post of a couple of weeks ago, “How Blogs Like This Are Killing The Wind Scam”. It almost looks from their title like a tacit admission that I was right, not that the author would have read my blog (though he might have done, or least encountered me on an online forum).
In online discourse, at least, we are on the attack and the wind scammers are on the retreat. That’s exactly the point I was making about the Overton Window and how it is shutting out the wind scammers. They are now soul-searching about exactly how to deal with people like me. That’s a start, anyway.
(I’m genuinely glad I have a bloody big iron shutter across my door and vigilant neighbours who have my best interests at heart.)
After contributing about twelve posts, including some good back-and-forth dialectic and interesting questions which I was on the verge of answering, I found I was banned from replying to the site, and furthermore all my comments were deleted. “Detected as spam” apparently, despite the wind scammers being the ones trying to sell shoddy goods and me not receiving a penny for my thoughts!
This is exactly what happened to my comments on The Guardian, and so it’s not the first time. All it does is reinforce my beliefs that those involved in the wind scam really don’t want an honest and open dialogue. They really don’t want reality intruding into their grim, twisted fantasies.
By contrast, I remember with great fondness my in-depth debate with a reader of this blog called Phil, back at the end of 2017. Phil’s opening salvo was “I’d like to correct your apparent misunderstanding…”, to which I welcomed him with open arms and metaphorically lavished him with cups of tea, biscuits and a genuine interest in listening to his opposing point of view. Although clearly Phil didn’t ultimately persuade me of the merits of wind power, he certainly helped me filter out any red herrings or false claims on my part. The discourse as a whole, I maintain to this day, is the most fact–filled section of my entire blog, and I eagerly await the next person who wants to come and have a similar discussion.
The joy of online discourse is that everyone gets to have their say, and any untruths or misunderstandings can be corrected in real-time by whoever happens to have a contrary opinion. It’s a bunfight, sure, you have to be tough as old boots, and you need the hide of a rhinoceros to hold your own in the glorious human zoo of social media. But you also learn to engage and respect those who can furnish you with new, useful information.
It’s revealing and ironic that I was banned from a social media discussion specifically about how the wind industry can better engage with people on social media! It demonstrates an amazing lack of understanding of how online discourse works and how popular memes are promulgated. When it comes to getting their message out there, the windies are stuck in that 80s/90s, corporate, “friends in high places”, top-down media management mode, seemingly unable to cope with the organic and chaotic spontaneity of a really good online discussion!
The unintended consequences of an obscure industry-based website heavy-handedly censoring the genuine views of an angry member of the public really should have been anticipated in this social media age. You can’t just delete the parts of the conversation you don’t want to hear any more; you have to engage and defeat them through superior ideas. This is the Culture War!
Now, a quick anecdote about how trying to control what is in the public domain can backfire horribly. In 2003, Barbara Streisand sued photographer Kenneth Adelman, aiming to have his aerial photograph of her Malibu mansion removed from a public collection of 12,000 photos of the Californian coastline (Adelman had only even photographed the property as part of a project to document, and hopefully tackle, the problem of coastal erosion). Before the lawsuit, the photo had only been downloaded six times (two of those times by Streisand’s attorneys); in the following month, the photo was downloaded over 400,000 times, and in the end of the law suit was dismissed.
Not only did Barbara Streisand learn the hard way (and no disrespect intended – she’s a fantastic entertainer) that trying to censor stuff only causes exponentially more public intrigue, she now finds her name forever associated with the phenomenon of the botched cover-up aka The Streisand Effect.
You’ll see why it’s relevant soon, if you haven’t already made the connection. But let’s delve into the original debate from which I was banned, and let’s reveal exactly what was said. The article’s opening paragraph was this:
“If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, Twitter, or for that matter in comment sections, you’ve probably seen them. The people who virulently hate wind energy. The irrational ones who ignore the clear science that shows that it’s perfectly healthy, that windows and cats kill orders of magnitude more birds, and who refuse to accept the evidence from around the world that it’s cheap and easy to integrate into grids. Often they are global warming deniers as well.”
I’m someone who virulently hates wind energy, so I immediately realised this article would be talking about people like me (clearly I’m not the only one then, which is nice!). However, rather than engaging with us directly, like I engage with wind folks directly, this guy prefers to bitch behind our backs.
Have a read-through my blog, if you can bear to do so. Sure, I’m downright angry about unnecessary bird deaths, and I’m not totally sold on the whole climate change agenda, but it’s self-evident that these aren’t even in the top ten of my concerns about the effects of wind energy upon the planet. So the author’s characterisation of the motivations of the Wind Warrior fails at the very first paragraph.
The remainder of the article is nothingy really, if anything I actually agree with the sentiments but come at it from the opposite angle. He’s really saying exactly what I was saying last time: there’s no grass-roots enthusiasm for wind energy on the internet. Forums are dominated by people like me. The key difference in how we interpret this mismatch is that the author sees it as something that can be solved by focus groups, marketing campaigns and the wind industry basically upping its advertising (by employing social media “experts” like… guess who… HIM!)
That’s not how I see it: I interpret the lack of pro-wind comments on social media, and debates generally dominated by Wind Warriors, as an honest and natural reflection of the true feelings of the public.
What happened next was the author’s worst nightmare. I know it’s hard, because you’re nice people, but imagine talking shit about someone behind their back, maybe even making up lies or certainly exaggerating to make them look bad, and that person walks in, having heard every word you were saying.
I walked into the room and said, well, this:
“Alright Mr Barnard. I’m one of those people you describe. I can’t leave a pro-wind BS forum uncorrected. I have my own blog MindWind dedicated to exposing the real-life impacts of wind power on mental health, using my own frazzled mind as a case study. If you think I’m a lunatic it’s the direct impact of unwanted, toxic wind blight on my healing places of tranquility, nature and beauty – TRASHED FOR PROFIT BY YOU, MR BARNARD, AND THE INDUSTRY YOU REPRESENT. You personally are making my life hell, and so help me I will not let you go until I have corrected your flawed thinking. Quite simply, I do not permit you to spoil any more countryside in the name of wind power, and I will hound you and obstruct you until you stop and face up to the impact of your words and actions, instead of passive-aggressive, victim-blaming BULLYING like you do in this article. Tough luck, you asshole. The wind scam has run out of road, and now it’s time for someone to do to you in the prison showers what you’ve been doing to rural communities these last two decades.
Do you want me to link you to the 63 peer reviewed pieces of research proving wind farms are ruinous to health? Have you read Eric Zou’s peer-reviewed report about the impact of wind farms on suicide (they increase incidences of suicide – PROVEN)? Have you read the London School of Economics’ “Gone With The Wind” that PROVES wind farms lower property prices?
Aside from anything else, you must seriously and truly hate nature in order to think the spearing of huge artificial white steel and paint blades, brutal, warped and twisted, is any way, shape or form “green”. You value the corporatisation of open access common land over its natural beauty. You value electricity over nature, money over people, machines over wildlife. You effing psychopath, you’re a clear and present danger to me and the community, and you must be stopped, YESTERDAY.
If you even think of deleting my comments then you’ll prove you’re not interested in the truth, or a genuine discourse, you have an agenda and are trying to skew the discourse away from the true voice of the public.
Screw your companies, screw your CEOs, screw your social media, screw your PR greenwash, and in the name of God, pack up shop and leave the countryside alone. Let’s face it, your carbon footprint would be ZERO if you all just went out of business and stayed at home. Millions of people around the world would be happier.”
OK, looking back the stuff about prison showers (you’ve probably all seen these bits of schtick before, as I tend to draw upon the blog for debate postings) was maybe a bit provocative, and calling him an “asshole” maybe not the most sophisticated argument. But I get called worse, routinely, and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. It’s just industrial language at the end of the day. It’s HONEST!
Here’s why the wind industry’s reaction to honest anger reveals so much: as an IT guy I deal with frustrated and sometimes borderline offensive users every day (well not so much at this job because the computer systems we use work pretty damn well!). But I have done, especially during my five years at the NHS. Trust me, if you think dockers have foul tongues, try dealing with a nurse who’s just been locked out of her Windows account for the fifth time in a morning!
The point is: emotional intelligence, empathy and all-round niceness actually means not running away from angry people, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU MADE THEM ANGRY, but acknowledging their anger, giving them room to vent, allowing them to say things in the heat of the moment that maybe they don’t mean (a classic symptom of the amygdala hijack), reassuring them and helping them work through their anger.
If you can do this with an upset customer and transform their anger into calmness, through empathy, compassion and support, then you will have a customer and advocate for life! “I understand how you feel….” is a great opener in which you can help someone angry start to shift gears. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, and I’ll no doubt keep saying it until they are in prison: the wind scammers’ smug indifference to real anger is sociopathic in its passive-aggressive, ice-cold brutality.
I was immediately, and I suppose understandably, called “swivel-eyed” by someone called Ed, to which I replied:
“You said yourself I was ‘swivel-eyed’. I never used to rant like this till wind farms came along. I don’t rant about Brexit or the government or the price of fish, ONLY wind blight. You people started it. I was just going about my business, quietly rambling in the South Pennines, till I accidentally stumbled across the mess you lot made, and it totally changed my opinion on wind farms, when I saw for myself just how appallingly they spoil the area around them. Really, really, really bad for the local environment. My words are testimony of the altered psychological state caused by wind blight, and if you try to shut me up or ridicule me, you’re essentially trying to shut up or ridicule the voice of nature. My only problem is that my words are too raw and too real for you bunch of corporate, office-based flowchart disciples, so intoxicated on your own “clean, green” sales-pitch that you even believe it yourselves instead of acknowledging just how bad the impact of wind farms has been on rural life, all around the planet. You people need to get out more. You’ll meet many more like me.”
To his credit, because as I said above it actually shows admirable empathy to engage with an angry man, Ed moved the conversation forward onto the familiar ground of subjective opinions vs objective facts (ie opinion polls). My reply, again flagged as “spam”, was this:
“I can only tell you about the communities that I’ve studied. Leeds rejected Hook Moor THREE TIMES before it was forced through. Gorpley Wind Farm was rejected because the developers tried fraudulently to overexaggerate support and were caught in the act. Crook Hill rejected at local level and only allowed on appeal by the then Labour government. Scout Moor extension rejected by the local community. Rooley Moor rejected by the local community. Todmorden Wind Farm rejected by the local community but allowed on appeal by the Labour government of the time. The ONLY wind farm round here not to have been rejected by the community was Ovenden Moor, which was one of the first ever wind farms back in the early 90s, which even I thought was a good idea at the time. Before wind turbines became “monstrous”, and yes they are. Aesthetically they are the wrong shape, the wrong size and the wrong colour to be appropriate for those who love the countryside, that can be proven mathematically based on design and aesthetic principles.”
Ed didn’t agree with my claim that aesthetics are objective, not subjective, and suggested I was imposing my own tastes on the rest of the world. Despite presenting an opposing point of view, what I liked about Ed was that he was at least in the same paradigm as me, up for an actual honest-to-goodness conversation about aesthetics, exactly what they are and how they relate to wind turbines, indeed the environment as a whole.
“OK these are all fair points Ed, and despite the heated nature of the rhetoric, I do enjoy the debate. Absolutely no hard feelings or personal malice intended. Right… the above article [“Aesthetics For Dummies…” from this blog] was specifically about aesthetics because I think it’s very important that we get real about the negative impact of wind farms on a landscape. That doesn’t negate the possible positives in other areas, which we’ll move onto shortly, but proponents of wind power do themselves no favours by downplaying the negative impact of wind farms on a landscape. This needs to be admitted, and yes I believe I have proven with maths that wind farms reduce the percentage of a landscape that is green, they instantly become the biggest and central feature of a landscape, relegating all natural elements to the background. It’s passive-aggressive and unrealistic of wind developers not to acknowledge this scientific fact – a wind farm will radically change the look and character of a landscape, making it more industrial, artificial and less natural and green. These are facts. It’s not NIMBY to point them out. The author immediately gets nature lovers’ backs up by ridiculing perfectly normal, natural human reactions to seeing bulldozers scraping the tops of hills and huge steel machines being erected. The moment you can start the discourse with “We accept that wind turbines look horrible and ruin the character of an area. That said, we think they have value in other ways…” is the moment we can move onto your next topics. But if we fall at Base 1, we deny the very real negative impacts of wind turbines on the beauty of an area (and I maintain that anyone who finds steel towers more beautiful than woods and hills really isn’t a lover of the countryside), every subsequent step is flawed. So let’s agree on Base 1 about the mathematical impact of a wind farm on a landscape’s colour and geometric balance, and then let’s take it from there. Unfortunately the size, shape and colour of wind turbines has an appalling impact on the aesthetics of a natural landscape (not a single other structure of the same shape or size would get planning permission, would it? Be honest!!!). Let’s agree with that basic axiom that wind farms have a bad impact on landscapes, and then we can have a sensible discussion about if it’s worth it or not.”
I think it’s plain to see the transition in tone from pure amygdala hijack rhetoric to neocortex-driven dialectic. This is what’s so important to understand about working through anger with people rather than running away from addressing their concerns: inevitably an angry person has a fascinating and REAL story to tell, and behind the irrational screaming and shouting almost invariably lies an entirely logical sequence of events. Refer back to the picture at the top of the blog of John Sweeney exploding like a tomato. This was a professional journalist driven to incandescent rage. If you just saw the clip of him shouting, out of context, you wouldn’t have a clue as to what triggered the meltdown. Almost everyone who has seen the full documentary about Scientology understands exactly what made John flip out. I did the same on reading the original blog post.
Then I was accused of being a Russian troll and a liar by someone with a long name. They also threw in that ancient one about wind turbines being like the ballet, the one I refuted on pretty much the first day I started this blog.
“Hi Ellie (if I may abbreviate your name to that). Thanks for engaging. Ballet, eh? Dealt with this one before, many times. Not sure if you’re aware of this, but ballet is all about synchronised dancing in time with the music. Any ballet as unsynchronised and out-of-phase as eleven wind turbines each spinning at their own rhythm, would have rotten vegetables thrown at it. It’s the synchronised movements that provide the beauty; wind turbines aren’t synchronised, they just do their own thing. No connection whatsoever.
The stuff about being a monstrous liar shows that you people are in denial. I was linked to this page via a FB group for people all around the world sharing horror stories at how the wind industry has made their lives hell. You call me a NIMBY – I bet you I care far more than you about the wellbeing of the Sperrins, or the Southern Uplands, or the Haute-Vienne, or the Great Lakes, or even the Greek mountains, all these places I will never visit but feel connected to because the whole earth is our collective backyard.
Instead of admitting just how many people and comnmunities you people have raped, you victim-blame and call people like me the problem. I KNOW I am not getting paid for this (whereas you lot are). I can sit there and draw maps from memory of blighted wind farm areas and their impact on rivers, ridgelines and, ultimately urban areas such as Keighley which have become increasingly riddled with crime and antisocial behaviour since being surrounded by wind blight.
AND I’VE NOT EVEN MENTIONED THE DEAD WHALES YET….
You are all in an artificial techno bubble and maybe, just maybe, my words might get through to some of you, before it’s too late. I have links coming out of my arse, peer-reviewed scientific links regarding the harm caused by wind turbines. I’ve yet to see any evidence of lower carbon emissions, either.
You ignore my words at your peril, and if you think this is about “me” and therefore a few insults will shut up the voice of nature, then you’re blind, deluded and not in the real world. I am maybe a bit more forward and vocal in my delivery, but for everyone of me there are thousands of people who feel the same, just haven’t made all the connections yet or have better things to do with their time than argue with you lot!
I repeat – no malice from me, just a wake-up call because this is a parallel universe in which you have fallen for the falsehood that people don’t “genuinely” oppose wind power, that we must have a hidden agenda. I’m here to tell you that’s simply not true, and I’m happy to engage with anyone who is genuinely interested in the TRUE voice of the public, not what you want to hear, but what people are really saying in communities.
And yes these are real places. Ask the people of Bonchester Bridge, Llandegley Rocks, Rooley Moor, Moray etc if they agree with me or not. It might surprise you!”
Ellie’s response was to accuse me of being a “mad, coal-loving eco-destructor”, to which I replied:
“So much flawed thinking in so few words. Sigh… Oh Ellie, what are we gonna do with you?
Mad? I’ve analysed my own psychological processes and can confirm that the sight of an inappropriately,located wind turbine triggers an amygdala hijack in my brain, resulting in a fight-or-flight response (fight, in my case!). After a while the hormones stop flooding my amygdala and access to my neocortex is resumed, resulting in the ability to perform higher cognitive processes. I know my own mind. I know how wind turbines affect it, temporarily making me mad. We are all in agreement that my words make me look like a lunatic, that’s not news to me. My point is: it’s you lot who did this to me.
Wind turbines, purely and specifically, are to blame for affecting my mental health. Blaming ME for what you’ve done to me isn’t a good look, on your part. Oh btw, for me, read many, many other people, all around the world. I know because we wind victims provide a support network for each other. If you didn’t know any of this happens, then again, you’re not in the real world.
This is a textbook sign of the flawed thinking and dangerous assumptions that are leading you people so far astray. Where on earth does “coal-loving” come from? Why do you think because I hate what wind blight has done, I should love coal? Makes no sense whatsoever, there’s zero correlation. I’ve not even mentioned coal, once.
Eco-destruction? Which of us has dug up more hilltops, you lot or me? Look at the picture! Are you seriously suggesting these wind turbines have improved that landscape? Does that imply you didn’t like the landscape as much before the turbines were added? So generally speaking, you prefer concrete, steel, paint and neodymium to trees, meadows, moorlands, right?
I put it to you that YOU guys are the ones self-evidently doing all the eco-destruction – again, please look in the Hendy wind farm, currently polluting the head of the Wye – I’m the guy almost lying in front of the bulldozer, and you call ME the eco-vandal??? COGNITIVE DISSONANCE, MUCH???
You don’t have to be a coal lover to oppose wind.
Here’s the rub: stop looking for bogus and fake “conspiracy theories” about why people hate wind blight, and just take it for what it is. Thousands of people round the world just don’t like seeing their treasured hills and mountains industrialised for corporate profit. No more, no less. No hidden agendas. Just what you see is what you get. We don’t like the impact of what wind power does to the countryside. It can’t be that had to accept that basic reality can it?
And with that, more or less, my comments were gone and the conversations erased from history. Luckily, I kept copies of the comments and have re-uploaded here, to post to a far wider and more varied audience than the handful of windies who’d have read the original debate.
If I’m honest, I wonder if maybe I did come across too aggressively, because right now I’m relaxed at home, having been nowhere near turbine blight today, and am in a totally different psychological state (more like the real me!). However, as any journalist or detective will confirm, strong and aggressive words aren’t necessarily false words, and someone screaming down the phone “Listen! E = MC fucking squared, you halfwit!” doesn’t invalidate Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
The true scientific method has sweet Fanny Adams to do with the tone of voice of those doing the experiments; indeed real scientists would happily wade through angry rants searching for new hypotheses rather than shut out the information source altogether. Clearly despite my aggression, I did bring genuine facts to the debate: I brought in mention of real wind farms, real activist groups, real environmental impacts, real research papers etc.
Dismissing my comments because of my writing style doesn’t invalidate the evidence I brought to the debate, and anyone genuinely advancing science would appreciate that in a heartbeat. I certainly didn’t spam anyone, I was sincere and honest in my posts, and in my own unique way, I WAS on-topic; indeed I helped answer the actual question posed, maybe even more cogently than the author imagined. I explained directly why people oppose wind energy so stridently in debates, and gave them some real-life exposure to the very phenomenon they were discussing how to handle.
They wanted a swivel-eyed lunatic; that’s what I gave them. And then I explained WHY.
If they were smart, they’d take on board the WHY, and they’d have the emotional intelligence to understand where the anger comes from. People get angry when they see their cherished landscapes trashed for corporate profit, especially when it’s against their will and without their consent. How does anyone over the age of four not know this, for crying out loud?
Sadly the wind industry isn’t that smart, hence its futile attempts to censor the anger it has generated, hoping it just goes away without attracting too much negative publicity in the process.
The Streisand Effect tells us that the opposite outcome is far likelier, however, and many more people will now start looking into exactly why the wind industry has such a problem with free and open discourse, why its default reaction to public anger is to censor rather than reassure.
Research papers like these explain just what the wind industry is trying to hide.
All of which brings us right back to Hendy…