The indigenous tribes of Easter Island erected huge wooden sculptures to honor their gods. Turning every tree into an idol destroyed the island’s environment and the idyllic life of the natives. Vermont’s radical new energy policy threatens over 200 miles of ridgeline with industrial wind development. Forested ridgelines are our greatest resource. Trees draw carbon from the air and form part of an intricate filtering system that gives us clean water.
Gearing up for pre-fall tours, Big Wind projects are on a mission to dispel notions that wind projects come with negative impacts. Visitors to wind sites should not expect to see piles of dead carcasses beneath wind turbines. Since much of their habitat has been destroyed, the chances of seeing or hearing any bats, birds or wildlife on wind turbine sites are greatly diminished. Wildlife has moved off the ridgelines. Insect-eating bat and bird populations have been decimated. Bears are threatened by the loss of their ridgeline homes and the beechnut trees that provided them with sustenance through the long cold winters.
Preserving our ridgelines may be our best defense against climate change. Attempts by wind developers to address environmental damage caused by heavy construction have fallen woefully short of producing meaningful results. Are developers deluding themselves that planting new trees in conjunction with man-made storm water controls will ever replace the undisturbed ridgeline ecosystems developed over thousands of years? There is evidence that even after a very long dry season, storm water controls are showing signs of failure. What will happen during a torrential downpour?
Newport Center, Vt.
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