Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wind turbines.  Green energy or red herring?  Communities across the nation are being deceived by large corporations into agreeing to host windmill farms, thinking they are doing their part for the environment and the future.  The only future they are safeguarding is the financial future of the multi-million dollar companies who manage to sweet talk the little guy into long time leases.
The community of Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River between New York State and Ontario is one such story.
Wolfe Island has a population of 1500 or so full time residents who live on the island and commute via ferry to nearby cities,  most commonly, Kingston, ON. The population doubles in the summer time, as cottagers and tourists take advantage of the fishing, bird-watching, and the unobtrusive serenity of nature. Well, at least it used to be like that.  These days the island is more reminiscent of a war zone--loud, monstrous vehicles, clouds of dust and debris, and explosions that rattle the bones of the long dead in the island's cemeteries.
What is it about nature that makes people feel they must destroy it?  A wind farm is not a gentle, quiet endeavor.  It is a loud and destructive process that will alter the environment forever. Trees must be cut, limestone must be blasted from the land where it has settled for millions of years, meadows must be torn asunder to allow for roads that will accommodate the colossal machinery needed to destroy the soul of the island.
After it is all done, the profile of the island will be dominated by 10 storey monoliths that look like leftover props from some long forgotten Orson Welles film. The land will have been raped by industrialists.  The soothing song of nature will be replaced by a constant barrage of white noise.
Joni MItchell sang the song, They Paved Paradise They Put up a Parking Lot many years ago. Little did I know then, that it would become an eerie refrain that floats through my mind like a funeral durge.

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