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Monday, July 01, 2013

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Perspective Required

According to this infographic: https://www.nssf.org/share/PDF/BirdMortality.pdf

It seems, if you can believe the numbers for total birds killed each year (3 billion, on average) by every source of mortality, 573,000 by wind specifically is... what? 0.42% vs. 32% just from flying into man-made structures alone. That's 950,000,000 per year from buildings. If you want to get upset about birds being killed by man-made things, use a little perspective.

Also, if you had the choice between having to live next to a wind turbine or downwind of a coal power plant... which would you choose? I'm not sure about you, but I can't think of a single person who ever died from wind poisoning.

It's often easy to forget that out of sight (tail pipe emissions, emissions from coal and gas, etc) doesn't mean out of your life. And I'm not talking even about CO2, I'm talking about everything else that's still getting dumped into the atmosphere.

When it comes down to dollars and cents, it always surprises me how many people prefer to to quietly poison themselves because it's a little cheaper and they can't "see" it. And then wonder why they have so many health problems later in life? But, I guess - in a society that lives for instant gratification, and can't draw a conclusion unless it's an instantaneous reaction to an action, we get what we ask for.

For a country that claims such strong faith, it's surprising how easily people write-off what they can't see.

Ken Blanchard

It makes sense to put things in perspective. Yes, buildings kill more birds than wind turbines. Still, it's odd to argue that it's okay to kill hundreds of thousands of birds and bats each year with wind towers because we kill even more with other things.

Unfortunately, the choice is not between wind towers and coal or other fossil fuels. Wind towers have not reduced the use of fossil fuels in any country. In some cases, they seem to lead to an increase in carbon emissions, when coal plants are fired up and down as the wind blows or doesn't.

I wouldn't want to live downwind from a coal plant or next to a wind turbine. I also don't want to pay three times as much for electricity, as the Germans do.

Perspective Required

@Ken - It's not the case that it's OK to kill birds with wind, but that there are so many other things killing birds and bats out there at MONUMENTALLY higher rates, why is wind power being demonized for such a small impact? If you're truly concerned about bird and bat death, seek to address the major contributors, not the 0.5% contributor.

The only way to reduce the amount of electricity we use is reduce the amount of energy we use every day through various energy efficiency technologies, or by doing simple things around your home and work, like unplugging appliances, using less AC, less heat in the winter.

Wind power reduces the amount of fossil energy needed at a given time. Wind increasing fossil fuel/carbon emissions use is unsubstantiated. Again, i urge perspective: think about how much CO2 would be emitted into the atmosphere if there were no wind/solar/hydro energy sources and everything came from coal all the time?

Of course, no one wants to pay ridiculous amounts for electricity, but in the alternative, would you rather pay ridiculous amounts for health care related to pollution, or have to see mountains destroyed for coal below, or entire water aquifers polluted for natural gas extraction? It's a NYMBY attitude to say you don't want to live next to a coal plant, and support fossil energy. Some folks don't have a choice, and families suffer the health impacts. Poor families, that then require socially funded health care costing everyone more money in the long run.

To live in a better, healthier, cleaner world, we have to make smarter, less selfish choices that extend beyond ourselves.

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