It is much easier to dismiss others if you label them. Tea-party Republican, knee-jerk liberal, tree-hugger, gas guzzler – you know what I mean. But if you look beyond the labels we place on each other, human beings are more similar than different. We all want to work and to raise our children in a loving and supportive environment. We want to have a good night’s sleep. We want to be safe and to keep our families safe. We care for our families and we mourn when we lose the ones we love.
For the last two years in Fairhaven, much has been made of the label “Windwise,” without much discussion about why Windwise was formed, who belongs to it and why there was a need to form such a group.
Fairhaven Windwise was formed to provide information about industrial turbines to neighbors of the turbines. It is similar to other community groups of concerned neighbors that spring up everywhere turbines are sited in residential neighborhoods. And when I say everywhere – I mean everywhere: Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Canada and all over the United States.
If you listen to the wind industry, these community groups are anti-turbine climate change deniers. More labels!
But I think the more interesting question is Why? Why do these groups form whenever turbines are sited near human homes?
Community groups form when living near the turbines makes them sick. They form because their boards of health won’t respond to their concerns and their boards of selectmen support the needs of wind developers over the needs of human beings. They form because state agencies and politicians are turning a deaf ear to their concerns. They form because no one else is listening.
When the turbines were turned on I felt sick in my studio on Arsene Street, 963 feet from the turbines. I was able to move out of the studio without much financial loss. But I continue to support those who cannot move away, those families in Fairhaven whose lives have been turned upside down when the turbines went up.
And I continue to admire others who stand up for turbine neighbors – here in Fairhaven and all over the world. I admire the independent doctors and acousticians whose work confirms what our neighbors already know – proximity to industrial turbines is making them ill.
It is extremely difficult to look beyond labels to discover the truth about the effects of living next to turbines. But I am extremely proud to stand with those who do.
Louise Barteau lives in Fairhaven.