Unity, Maine – Is wind power the next step to reindustrializing America, or is it a divisive and over hyped concept?
The wind power debate will take center stage at the Unity College Centre for the Performing Arts (UCCPA) on Tuesday, February 28 at 7 p.m. with the screening of the documentary film Windfall.
Sponsored by the Unity College Constructive Activist Club, the film is free and open to the general public. The UCCPA is located at 42 Depot Street (off Route 202) in Unity, Maine.
Critically acclaimed at the Toronto International Film Festival, Windfall was produced by well-respected film editor Laura Israel.
She had been working as a film editor for decades when the subject that would become the inspiration for Windfall showed up on her doorstep. The New York-based filmmaker had spent years going up to a cabin in remote Meredith, New York without getting to know her neighbors, but when several people in town signed contracts allowing an industrial company to place wind turbines on their property, and several others opposed it, Israel found herself caught in a local political issue that resonated across the country.
The resulting documentary is Windfall, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010. In telling the story of Meredith Israel explores the largely hidden downside of allowing wind energy corporations to stake out land in American communities, installing 400-foot high wind turbines so near peoples’ homes that residents complain of headaches and respiratory problems, not to mention the diminished property values and general noise of a giant turbine so near one’s home. As the residents in Meredith duke out their concerns at town hall meetings, Israel and her crew filmed scenes at neighboring Tug Hill, where dozens of wind turbines have already changed that small town forever.
“When we see what has happened to the social fabric of a town like Meredith, it demands that we begin a renewed and real debate on all sides of the industrial wind issue … It’s only morally and ethically right to do so,” said Greg Perkins, a staff member and supporter of the Constructive Activist Club. “What happened in Merideth is also happening right now in Maine.”
Perkins praised the Unity College Constructive Activist Club, which is sponsoring the film screening.
“I applaud the members of the Constructive Activist Club for being willing to co-sponsor this movie, and I hope it opens an unbiased dialogue about the science, the economics and the real and potential impacts not only to humans, but to the mountain ecosystems and associated wildlife habitats of our state,” Perkins stated. “As of today, no research has been done. No one is against renewable energy or wind energy, per sey, but to be sustainable (in all senses of the word) energy has to be done right – and that includes industrial wind energy. If it isn’t done right, we’ll be looking back some day asking what we were thinking and why we were silent.”
Constructive Activists is non-partisan student club at Unity College that promotes student engagement in current issues, as well as community causes such as Veggies for All, the Unity College food program that benefits several area food pantries. Much of the Constructive Activist campus presence involves letter-writing campaigns and fundraising for charitable causes. Club members seek to expose their fellow students to controversial topics to stimulate critical thought and involvement regardless of political persuasion.
“Our co-sponsoring of Windfall is a perfect example of the student engagement,” noted Sarah Austin ’12, club President. “We aim to enrich student opinions in a productive and unbiased forum.”
In 2011, Unity College was named to the top 30 of the Washington Monthly college rankings, and was one of eighteen U.S. colleges and universities named to The Princeton Review’s 2010 Green Rating Honor Roll.
Unity College is a small private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education which emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.
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