As a new United Church minister in Prince Edward County I have struggled to comprehend why so many neighbours have set their hearts against wind turbines, and have been persuaded to oppose all forms green energy and are eager to vote against any government that promotes it.
The strongest argument seems to be that the will of the people is being ignored by an autocratic government policy, like the imposition of the long gun registry, mandatory seatbelt use, the metric system, and the adoption of the Canadian Flag. How can we tell when government policies really are the right thing to do? How can we tell when we are being deceived for political gain?
I must object when Mr. Steve Campbell (“Birds, people … the difference?” County Weekly News, Dec 6) equates the victims of the Nazi Holocaust to birds and bats that are killed by wind turbines. As much as God loves birds, God loves people too. Such a comment is profoundly disrespectful to the actual victims of genocide and the ethnic, religious, and cultural minorities that they represent.
Some folks seem to fear wind turbines as if they were Apocalyptic agents of doom rising from the earth like Martian invaders, but wind turbines are not gas chambers constructed for the sole purpose of murdering millions, or crematoria spewing forth the acrid smoke of incinerated human beings.
Mr. Campbell is right about one thing; There is indeed a crime being committed here. Our deliberate choice as a civilization to put our consumer comforts and distorted self-interests ahead of our responsibility to all of the earth and its creatures is truly a criminal act, for which we will be held responsible. We have the mens rhea-the guilty mind. We can no longer pretend that we do not know what we are doing.
Half a billion people will be affected by sea level rise alone. Real people will die, by the millions, because we are choosing not to be sickened by our own callous irrationality and “Cry Havoc!” demanding that we cease our frenzied consumption of fossil fuels. Our neighbours are dying right now because of how we are choosing to live.
Such policies are the crimes against humanity – crimes against Gaia, the Earth- that our traumatized descendants will rightly accuse our generation of committing. Some know the truth, but lie to us. Many have been deceived by these lies, or prefer to believe them, while others just don’t want to know.
The greatest guilt will rest upon those in power who know the evil that they are doing, promoting this genocidal course with vigour and deceit, and financing the propaganda designed to deceive us. But we are all complicit in letting it happen.
Many argue that our economic interests require us to maintain the status quo. As we inflict massive damage upon the biosphere and alter our climate in unprecedented haste and recklessness, only the false prophets of our time – telling us what we want to hear – can even pretend that business as usual will carry on unaffected.
The citizens of Nazi Germany also denied what was happening under their noses. Postwar, their healing could only begin with a confession of guilt, making possible true repentance. Like them, we have no excuse. A decade has passed since scientists warned us that our present policies are driving a new species into extinction every 20 minutes – up to 1,000 times faster than the natural rate in the evolution of species.
A detailed USDA Forest Service study (Erickson et al, 2005) found that each wind turbine kills between one and seven birds a year, for a total mortality of less that .01% of all mortalities caused by collision with structures and vehicles. This works out to a ratio of 27,000:1. This study made no attempt to measure bird mortalities caused by climate change, which is eradicating entire ecosystems all over the world.
If we were to blanket the planet with wind turbines, many bird species would adapt, but in the future we are engineering birds will not be given even this chance. When the forests turn to desert and the rivers run dry and the deltas are drowned by rising sea levels, the deaths of birds due to collisions with wind turbines will be merely a jot and a tiddle in the Book of Life.
It’s an ill bird that soils its own nest. Our behaviour attests to our psychic health. We are living the ideology of a cancer cell – unrestrained growth at any cost – and we may suffer the same fate if we kill our host. The massive adoption of renewable/green energy sources is only one of the new priorities that we must adopt.
Our crisis is a spiritual one in the sense that we must awaken to a radically different conception of our relationship to the Earth and to each other. We cannot save ourselves unless we change our fundamental attitudes, so like an Old Testament prophet, we must proclaim the truth about our folly, and expose the lies that threaten all of us.
We must evolve beyond the myopic obsession with short-term self-interests that are ravaging the only home we have. We must be born anew to a hopeful vision of a world where all living creatures share in the equitable, restrained, and sustainable use of Earth’s resources for the good of all.
This advent season, we must dedicate all our hearts and minds and strength to seeing this new vision of peace and justice come into being on earth, as it is in Heaven.
David Colwell, Milford