November 21, 2005

Save the world, save the ridgelines

To the Editor, Vermont Guardian:

I am puzzled by Jane Newton's stand against opposition to industrial wind turbines (letter, Nov. 16). Are not the ridgelines part of the world that needs protecting? If we allow our own back yard to be destroyed merely for corporate profit, how can we go on to save the rest of the world from the same process?

I am surprised by her apparently unquestioning acceptance of claims from the developers that wind power is a step in the right direction. Despite decades of experience, and at least ten years of substantial installation, proponents can not point to any savings of other fuels. It won't move us away from fossil or nuclear fuels, let alone war, exploitation, and pollution. Besides a lack of positive impact, the negative effects are not negligible.

Just as military invasion is sold as "spreading democracy" and corporate piracy as "bringing opportunity," the needless industrialization of our last rural and wild landscapes with wind turbines just as falsely sold as "clean energy."

Newton suggests countering corporate crime in small ways, yet dismisses the crimes of big wind as minor. A scam is a scam, destruction destruction. The fight against it at every level can -- and ought to -- begin in our own back yards. My experience in working with many individuals against big wind is that their concern does not stop at their own ridgelines. The network of individuals and groups helping each other extends around the world. Their activism should be praised not denigrated.

In August 2004, the Point Pierce Aboriginal community of Australia watched 40,000 years of Dreaming destroyed by the construction of 50 wind turbines at Wattle Point. This past autumn, Zapotecos of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico asked Mark Duchamp, a bird conservationist who fights giant wind turbine facilities in Spain and Scotland, to help them against "the imposition of neoliberal megacorporations destroying nature and our cultures" (the whole letter in Spanish is reproduced on the web at

Giant wind turbines on our ridgelines won't reduce the use of other sources of energy in Vermont or anywhere else on the grid. According to a Nov. 18 article in the Times Argus, the U.S. president of the Italy-based company targeting Sheffield and Sutton shamelessly boasted of construction on "state-owned virgin mountain tops" on Maui, Hawaii. It's corporate invasion and conquest, nothing else.

The fight against big wind is not to deny the necessary struggles Newton is active in. It is to join them.

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