If we don't strike a balance between the natural world and our ever-expanding need for electricity to power the gadgetry that got us into this mess in the first place, we are in danger of losing all connection to the land and the lion's share of our humanity. If the day comes when we finally succeed in usurping the deer, birds, bear, trees, water and everything else that is wild we will have reduced ourselves to one single claim to fame - we beat Mother Nature to death.
Unlike many of his uber-urban contemporaries Toby Barrett is a country boy and when it comes to the land and what lives on it he knows whereof he speaks. His demand to find out who gave the order for the removal of a bald eagles nest near Fisherville is to be applauded
It was inevitable of course, when you pit feather and bone against a turbine blade 45-metres long, the blade wins. And if the blade belongs to big energy the deal is cinched.
It doesn’t take a master’s in quantum physics to predict the grim result of anchoring a mega-fan in the path of migrating birds.
The bald eagle of course doesn’t flee south for the winter but maybe it should. I suspect the noise alone from the grey monoliths is enough to mess up its’ breeding cycle. We haven’t done the eagle any favours. First we poisoned them with pesticides, rendering their eggs tissue-paper thin and moronic trophy hunting poachers got into the act until the birds were all but liquidated. (Some First Nation peoples on the other hand hold the eagle feather to be sacred but they don’t kill the bird to get it.)
One day last summer I was mowing the weeds in the paddock and looked up to see four of them, two adults and two fledglings. Knowing they are back, even in a fragile state is comforting.
Just as the eagle thought it was safe to take to the air again we introduce wind turbines. I am as “green” as grass but I have to wonder where the converging lines of a need for alternative power and business (read greed) meet. My cynical side tells me that when big energy meets big bird the latter is at a distinct disadvantage.
The Front Road between Port Rowan and Port Stanley used to be one of my favourite Land Rover rides, tranquil fields backed by a fresh breeze off the lake. Now if you park by some quiet cliffside all you are apt to hear is the grind and crank of the eerie behemoths that line the shore.
Then there’s the health factor. For whatever reason a number of folks who live near these things apparently suffer headaches, nausea and other maladies that never plagued them in the past.
The cutting of a single half dead looking tree with a nest perched in it may seem trivial, just another knee-jerk response by tree huggers to the march of progress. I like trees and I like eagles and there appears to be something stinko about the way this was done.
By and large I think the Ministry of Natural Resources does a great job, at least the grunts at the sharp end do. This fall they were, understaffed as usual, out in my neck of the woods chasing poachers, which is damned dangerous work. There is a reason the MNR was mandated to carry firearms even before many police forces in Ontario. When a policeman investigates a domestic disturbance firearms are not usually factored in; the MNR guys, especially those stationed further north in moose and bear country, know that the poachers they slog into the bush to nab are armed to the teeth.
Barrett is probably right. The answer likely lies in a corporate boardroom somewhere sheltering fat men in pinstripes who wouldn’t know an eagle from a horse apple (and could care less) and whose lives are dictated by the bottom line.
There is another bottom line coming up fast. As a species we are not as bright as we like to think we are. If we don’t strike a balance between the natural world and our ever-expanding need for electricity to power the gadgetry that got us into this mess in the first place, we are in danger of losing all connection to the land and the lion’s share of our humanity. If the day comes when we finally succeed in usurping the deer, birds, bear, trees, water and everything else that is wild we will have reduced ourselves to one single claim to fame – we beat Mother Nature to death.
I hope I’m fertilizer if and when it happens.
Gord Christmas is a Walsingham-area resident. His column appears regularly in the Simcoe Reformer
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