December 22, 2005

Whichever way the wind blows

A team from the School of Geography and Geosciences at the University of St Andrews (Scotland) surveyed residents around two sites each in Ireland and Scotland and found higher approval of existing than of proposed wind facilities. They also found that many people approving of the existing facilities had indeed changed their minds from opposing them when proposed.

Have they also changed their whole worldview? According to the BBC ("Residents air views on wind farms," Dec. 12),
The survey also found that opponents and advocates of wind farms saw the world through "different lenses".

Dr [Charles] Warren said: "We focused on people's general environmental attitudes before homing in on the wind farm issue.

"We found that people in favour of wind farms generally viewed environmental issues as global and justified their support on that basis.

"Opponents tended to view the environment as locally conceived and about protecting their local surroundings."
What this illustrates is the amazing coping ability of humans, who are able to rationalize and disregard personal misfortune or local injustice by referring it to a "greater good," however delusional. It is no wonder that people thus resign themselves to what they must now live with.

[A letter in the Dec. 28 Scotsman points out that the study was done in collaboration with the Macaulay Institute of Aberdeen, which runs a consultancy business, Macaulay Enterprises, for the renewables industry. The links on its web site are all pro-industry.]

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