Monday, May 30, 2005


Windmills in the Rochester, New York area Posted by Hello

 Wind Power in our area?

Wind Power in our area?

by Frank J. Regan

I wonder how we can resolve the position that renewable energy is a great planetary movement towards having a non-polluting energy source, to actually achieving this goal. Most people like the idea of windmills added to our power grid, providing us with a non-polluting energy source--until it threatens their area. So, how can it happen? I don't remember anyone having a choice about a hydro-electric dam stopping up their river or a coal-burning power plant, which pollutes the air with smog and mercury. I don't remember community groups getting up in arms about a far more insidious form of energy--nuclear power. But, it seems every time a community is faced with having a windmill farm near their them, they get up in arms about how it will change the aesthetics of their landscape, or the blades falling off, or ice coming off, or the flicker effect, or the noise, or something. Residents near a nuclear or coal-burning power plants have, in all probability, far graver health effects than those who live near a windmill.

In the case of Springwater, the public resignedly said "No!" to the prospect of having 14 windmills in their area. Already groups are forming against the idea of windmills that area: Springwater Preservation Committee. Here's their argument: "The town residents and visitors will most likely get nothing from this proposal but a destruction of their scenic landscapes, a bombardment of strobe lights, unwanted noise, and a drop in their property values." And if you listen to this program online --Catching the Wind --from the radio program Living On Earth -- there are many, many people fighting the creation of windmill farms in the United States. Yet, oil is polluting, changing the temperature of our planet, and causing us wars around the world.

In my opinion, I think we are condemned to hitch our future on the horrific nature of oil (war and pollution) and nuclear energy (in which the latest Yucca Mountain scandal highlights just how impossible it is going to be to deal with spent fuel rods) unless we find a solution to creating wind farms, which are the only quick, viable energy alternatives to the tremendous increase in energy uses we have. There are other forms of renewable energy sources --solar, geothermic, etc.--but none of them can at this time complete with dirty oil and gas.

What concerns me is that the argument that our country (we burn 25% of the oil in the world for energy) needs to find energy alternatives is not being heard in small, rural communities. It seems to me that if given a choice communities will always choose not to have large windmill near them. What about the argument that rural New Yorkers have a significant resource here (lots of wind) which means that we have an opportunity to and give something back to the country and to the planet even if it means compromising some of our previously pristine views?

Part of the problem is that the complete ledger of what is involved in the energy problem has not been accurately described adequately in our media. If we do not use large windmills, which are the only viable renewable energy sources at this date, we will be forced to continue to use out-dated coal-powered plants and dangerous nuclear plants for electricity. That means extensive air pollution, global warming gases, and mercury contamination--which is why we cannot eat fish in any quantity in the Eastern United States. Nuclear power is too dangerous and the its waste issue cannot be addressed--Bush's Yucca Mountain facility is under suspicion because the books were cooked on how safe radioactive waste storage would be. And the problem of creating a single site for spent nuclear waste does not even address the serious problem of transporting that waste across our roads and through our cities.

Remember, environmental issues are totally different that any other issue. As Carl Sagan said, "If you cannot drink the water, or breathe the air, anything else you want to do is not going to happen." At this point in time, only windmills can quickly reduce our dependence on dangerous and polluting, and greenhouse-gas-producing energy sources. And, if everyone is dead set against having a windmill near their homes, how will we solve our energy problems?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Daily Messages: Get all the news about how RochesterEnvironment.com and Green Solitaire is helping our environment

Remote Killing: Just about the sickest activity I have ever come across in all my years watching environmental stories has to be this one: Remote hunting targeted ( Albany – New York lawmakers aim to shoot down a new computer game that allows users to kill by remote control. The state Senate yesterday passed legislation outlawing the use of Web sites that let users hunt live game with just a click of the mouse. Outraged lawmakers in the Assembly said they are more than ready to push the bill through there, too.) I have heard about blasting an entire population of cormorants on Galloo Island a few years ago because some fisherman were tired of competing with this fishing bird for fish in the Great Lakes, shooting coyotes in a Honeoye contest because hunters believed that they were unfairly competing with hunters for killing deer (they weren't, deer population are vast), and shooting crows in a contest because another crow population farther away was bugging city residents, but this remote killing thing is far sicker. When is our species going to grow up? When is killing animals for sport going to cease to be entertaining for a species that is supposedly maturing? But, I guess I cannot get my mind around the depth of depravity of creating a web site where you can actually kill an animals from your desk top computer with the click of a mouse. That our state government even has to waste its time consider stopping this activity is sad beyond sad. I'm almost lost for words on the depth of depravity that humans can descend to at times. Killing real animals from your desk top computer is has to be a sign of a species so bored with itself that must reach to the lowest depths of its soul to come up with this sort of 'entertainment'. Of course, in the scheme of things, of evil, remote killing does not compete with murdering humans, serial killers, rapists, even robbery, but for sheer moronic depravity remote killing is about the stupidest and childish adult behavior I have ever heard of. If it is not instantly obvious to you that remote killing is not only wrong, but a sign of something going wrong in the way some people things, then I guess our species needs an adult caretaker.