Short Story: Wind

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Image courtesy of twitter user @intrepidwanders

Dad took me to look at the turbines again today. I didn’t want to go. We’ve been every day this week, and he just gets angry and upset. I suppose I can understand it; I’m not altogether happy about it either, but I’ve got used to it. And it’s only been three weeks, the wind is bound to start blowing again soon.

I suggested to Mum that she go along instead, but she gave me “that look” and I realised that wasn’t going to happen. I even offered to do the washing while she was out – we’ve had to start washing our clothes in an old bath in the yard. It’s a nasty job and I hate doing it – not that we have all that much washing at the moment; we tend to wear most of our clothes to keep warm. Anyway, with no hot water we don’t tend to bathe all that often. Nobody does. I don’t even notice the smell any more. It’s not all that practical at this time of year anyway, the clothes just freeze on the line and don’t dry at all. But despite my offer she said she’d rather stay at home and look after Parton.

Parton is our dog. He’s a cross between a German Shepherd and, well, quite a lot of other types of dog probably, but at least one of them must have been St Bernard because he has a very woolly coat and he’s very cuddly. I think that’s the real reason Mum wanted to stay at home; Parton is a good way to keep warm.

Dad keeps going on about the house not having a chimney. He says we could have gathered driftwood from the beach, like he and Mum did when they were first married and money was tight and they couldn’t afford coal. Not that there’s any coal nowadays; and anyway they say it caused Global Warming, and apparently that was a bad thing. I’m not sure about that. I think we could maybe do with some Global Warming around now. Anyway, he says, it should be a lesson for when I’m older: never buy a house without a chimney.

So we go to the site, Dad walking, I ride alongside him on my bike. Normally we’d have taken the car, but without power we can’t recharge the batteries, so it’s just sitting in the street where it’s been for the last few weeks. We leaned on the fence, and I can see one of the turbines just turning, ever so slowly, but at least it’s turning. I point it out to Dad but he just grunts. After a while, he spreads his arms as if embracing the scene, and says “Behold, the future! Abundant clean energy for all!”

I try to “Behold”, but all I see is row upon row of turbines, stretching far into the distance. Dad says they cover about thirty square miles, and much of the land here used to be common land, shared by the people who live around here. Around 2020 it was taken over by the Department of Energy and Mother Earth to protect the natural environment. D.E.M.E. sold the land to a Chinese Energy company, who promptly covered it with Wind Turbines.

I tell Dad to look on the bright side. At least while they aren’t turning the birds will be OK, and as if on cue a large flock of geese fly overhead, their V formation broken temporarily as they fly between the blades, heading south. Dad almost smiled, although it was more a kind of grimace. He doesn’t say anything; just watches the birds until at first they become a fuzzy blob in the distance, and then finally disappear out of sight.

One Saturday afternoon around this time last year Dad had come home really upset. He’d been to the garage to pick up a replacement part for the car, and on his way back he’d stopped at a lay-by alongside the turbine’s field. That day, just like today, a flock of geese had been heading South; but unlike today the turbines had been working. With tears in his eyes, Dad described how more than half the birds had been smacked out of the sky by the turbine blades. When he saw what was happening, he climbed the fence and ran into the field to see what he could do to help the poor creatures, but there was nothing he could do but weep over them; they were all either dead or dying; broken beyond any hope of repair.

We walk back in silence, the sky glows deep red as the sun goes down, then darkness.

I’m not sure how long it was before we noticed the breeze. Gentle at first, then stronger. As we near the town the street lights are coming to life. Getting closer, people come out of their houses, talking, making jokes, laughing. Dad wants to talk to everyone; handshakes, backslapping, and all smiles. Happy, hopeful faces.

Back inside we shrug off our coats, gloves, hats. It’s warm inside. The lights are on. The TV is on. Mum is snuggled up with Parton and a cup of hot chocolate. I dash to the kitchen to put the kettle on. Dad says he’d like a coffee.

I bring the drinks through to the living room, hand Dad his coffee and settle down into the armchair by the door.

It’s that young weatherman tonight, the blonde one who always wears that wrinkly jacket.  Mum starts to say something but Dad tells her to shush.

…”… pressure that has brought the cold weather has finally moved on, and the next few days will bring quite a bit of rain to most parts, and strong winds affecting travel throughout the North West. By the weekend things should settle down again, a new high pressure system is moving in from the Atlantic which will bring much calmer weather for the next couple of weeks … “

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One response to “Short Story: Wind”

  1. rmpbklyn says :

    videos:

    eagle hit

    —–

    Wind farms are clusters of turbines as tall as 30-story buildings, with spinning rotors as wide as a passenger jet’s wingspan. Though the blades appear to move slowly, they can reach speeds of up to 170 mph at the tips, creating tornado-like vortexes. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/12/house-panel-subpoenas-white-house-on-wind-power-eagle-deaths/

    Bob Sallinger with the Audubon Society of Portland said wind farms across the country have killed more than 80 eagles over the last decade.

    “If you have dozens and dozens of them on the landscape it is basically a giant Cuisinart for birds,” said Sallinger. “Bald eagles took decades to recover … we almost lost them because of DDT. Golden eagles are a species biologists are concerned about because they appear to be declining.” http://www.kgw.com/news/Official-Wind–257599781.html

    A recent study by federal and state scientists found that U.S. wind turbines could kill up to 1.4 million birds of all species per year by 2030 as the wind energy industry continues to expand. http://www.ibtimes.com/should-wind-turbines-be-allowed-kill-eagles-debate-ratchets-bird-group-lawsuit-1607240

    Kay Armstrong, who lives near a wind farm in Ontario, Canada, has reported that her home is now “virtually uninhabitable” due to the infrasound from the turbines disturbing her sleep and making her feel dizzy. She also says that local deer are agitated and awake all night, that birds are flying around all day rather than going to roost, and that seals in the area are suffering miscarriages. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/06/13/More-Deaths-Linked-to-Wind-Turbines-near-Danish-Mink-Farm
    —-ca

    There are currently more than 4,000 turbines by the Altamont Pass. http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/05/23/new-design-may-reduce-bird-deaths-in-wind-turbines-on-altamont-pass-livermore-interstate-580-golden-eagle-animals-environment-renewable-energy/

    Wind turbines at Altamont Pass kill an estimated
    880 to 1,300 birds of prey each year, including up to 116 golden eagles, 300 red-tailed hawks, 380
    burrowing owls, and additional hundreds of other raptors including kestrels, falcons, vultures, and
    other owl species. The APWRA is an ecological sink for golden eagles and other raptor species and
    may be having significant impacts on populations of birds that are rare and reproduce infrequently.
    http://www.goldengateaudubon.org/conservation/birds-at-risk/avian-mortality-at-altamont-pass/

    “Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks—as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.”

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/wind-energy-under-attack-for-thousands-of-wildlife-deaths/

    —nj
    Near Atlantic City NJ 5 industrial wind turbines were erected which are killing an average of 76 birds and bats per year per turbine(not the 1-2 that AWEA and US Fish and Wildlife publicize). This has been documented by the local Audubon society. Though to make sure not too information is known…they only study for 2 years after installation then after that….It is a shameful secret! These killed a Peregrine Falcon of which there are only 25 breeding pair in the entire state, also numerous Osprey, a Green Heron, a Dunlin and many others….is not worth it for these highly variable power producers which require full CO2 emitting backup and power shadowing. Money would be much better spent on conservation and efficiency…which have been shown to be ten times more cost effective thereby doing more for our planet

    http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/lewesturbine/documents/acua_quarterlyreport_fall09.pdf

    http://www.njcleanenergy.com/files/file/Renewable_Programs/Wind/ACUA_Interim%20Report_Jan-Sep08_all.pdf

    —-mo

    The project proposed by Wind Capital Group of St. Louis would erect 94 wind turbines on 8,400 acres that the Osage Nation says contains key eagle-nesting habitat and migratory routes. http://bdnews24.com/environment/2013/06/15/native-americans-decry-eagle-deaths

    st louis mayor’s office:
    Phone: (314) 622-3201

    Hours:
    8 AM – 6 PM
    Monday through Friday

    Address:
    1200 Market , City Hall, Room 200
    St. Louis, Missouri 63103

    governor:

    facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jay-Nixon/6517667731

    governors twitter https://twitter.com/GovJayNixon

    2007: NRC Report on Environmental Impact of Wind Farms

    “Collisions with buildings kill 97 to 976 million birds annually; collisions with high-tension
    lines kill at least 130 million birds, perhaps more than one billion; collisions with communications towers kill between 4 and 5 million based on “conservative estimates,” but could be as high as 50 million; cars may kill 80 million birds per year; and collisions with wind turbines killed an estimated at 20,000 to 37,000 birds per year in 2003, with all but 9,200 of those deaths occurring in California. Toxic chemicals, including pesticides, kill more than 72 million birds each year, while domestic cats are estimated to kill hundreds of millions of songbirds and other species each year. Erickson et al. (2005) estimate that total cumulative bird mortality in the United States “may easily approach 1 billion birds per year.”

    http://www.vawind.org/assets/nrc/nrc_wind_report_050307.pdf

    ——
    http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=OR

    Merkley, Jeff – (D – OR) Class II
    313 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
    (202) 224-3753
    Web Form: http://www.merkley.senate.gov/contact/

    Wyden, Ron – (D – OR) Class III
    223 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
    (202) 224-5244
    Web Form: http://www.wyden.senate.gov/contact/

    —–
    http://www.leg.state.or.us/senate/members.htm
    The Oregon State Capitol Address is: 900 Court St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97301.
    View a map to the Oregon State Capitol.
    For information regarding the legislative process, email the Legislative Liaison, or call 503-986-1000. For technical questions about this site, please email Oregon Legislative Information Systems, or call 503-986-1914.

    ———-
    In Spain, the Spanish Ornithological Society (TSOS) estimates that the country’s 18,000 wind turbines cause between six and eighteen million bird deaths a year. This works out at an average of 333 to 1,000 birds per turbine. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/06/20/RSPB-Condemns-Plans-to-Build-Huge-Wind-Farm-Near-Rare-Bird-Breeding-Area

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/06/local/la-me-adv-wind-eagles-20110606

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394945/The-green-killer-Scores-protected-golden-eagles-dying-colliding-wind-turbines.html

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