Industrial wind farms

We in West County (western Franklin County in Massachusetts) had a crash course in industrial wind power when a local developer wanted to put eight megaturbines on a ridge overlooking the small art town of Shelburne Falls. It was impressive, the experts who were brought in to make the case against these wind turbines: everyone from Dr. Nina Pierpont, author of Wind Turbine Syndrome, broadcast live from her home in upstate New York; to acousticians specializing in low-frequency noise; to an Illinois real estate appraiser with an expertise in the effects of wind farms and airports on real estate value; to residents of Falmouth, MA recounting their experience after turbines were installed near their homes. A local landscape architect and water-colorist, Walt Cudnahofsky, was the driving force behind this and really educated the community with his numerous articles in the local papers.

The project was abandoned in the end, thanks to this vociferous opposition. Not really a Not in My Backyard issue, but a Not in Anyone's Backyard issue. Naturally, we have to act locally first and foremost. Such local protests against industrial wind farms are happening now throughout the world.


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I only mention this because I read Nina Pierpont's book Wind Turbine Syndrome and was quite taken with the psychological effects of the low-frequency, barely audible, sound pulsations created by the industrial-scale turbines (the blades have the wingspan of a 747). They affect an ancient part of our vestibular apparatus and actually disturb, in small children especially, our sense of balance and our ability to organize ourselves in space. It affects the ability to sequence tasks, reading ability (also a sequence of letters in space), and in some deeper ways even our sense of gravity. And if the turbines are quiet, when the wind drops or changes direction, the symptoms disappear. As they do if the family abandons their home and lives elsewhere, distressed by the adverse effects on their children; not an uncommon solution by the way.

This gravitational insecurity creates a nameless anxiety, panic attacks, fear of falling, or night terrors in children. They can wake and be inconsolable when the thumpf thumpf thumpf of the turnbines is causing the air and their bodies to throb (the pulsations can create standing waves in the lungs; indeed, they cause the lungs of bats in particular to rupture, killing theanimal; one woman from Falmouth who spoke to us, a realtor actually, would have to pick up dead bats on her deck a few times a week). Some sensitive or vulnerable adults, too, have anxiety attacks and wake from sleep in ahyperalert state, certain that their house has been invaded somehow. And so it goes on. Nina Pierpont has produced numerous case studies.

So in an ostensible effort to reverse global warming and restore the ecological balance of the Earth, these self-styled green corporations are disturbing an even more delicate ecology, our very relationship to gravity, which A. Jean Ayres (Sensory Integration and the Child) says is even more primordial than the relationship with the mother.

David Hopkins 2013