Environmentalists often talk about people whose lives are ruined by man-made global warming.
But they never mention the lives that are devastated by misguided climate change policy.
There is no better example than the debilitating human health impacts of the hundreds of thousands of industrial wind turbines (IWTs) that are being erected around the world to supposedly mitigate climate change.
In “Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines,” a 2013 paper in the magazine of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, Dr. Roy D. Jeffery, Carmen Krogh, and Brett Horner explained, “People who live or work in close proximity to IWTs have experienced symptoms that include decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction.”
“The problem is not just cyclical audible noise keeping people awake but also low frequency infrasound which can travel many kilometres,” notes Dufferin County-based Barb Ashbee, who says she was forced out of her Amaranth, Ontario home by the siting of IWTs too close to it.
“Infrasound goes right through walls,” said Ashbee, operator of the Wind Victims Ontario website. “It pummels your body.”
Tens of thousands of complaints have been received by governments around the world.
Sherri Lange, CEO of North American Platform Against Wind, said, “I have personally received hundreds of phone calls from distressed people who need to vacate their homes [because of IWTs].”
Lange contended governments try to not address the issue.
“It is my experience from talking to doctors, researchers and other high-level professionals, that governments seem to be (under the influenced of) the industry.”
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne promised her government would not force any of the 6,736 IWTs being erected by the province into “unwilling communities”.
To date, 90 communities have declared themselves as “Unwilling Hosts”, yet construction is underway, or planned, in many of these areas.
For example, in West Lincoln and surrounding regions, wind developers have received approval to install at least 77 three-Megawatt IWTs, each as tall as a 61-storey building, despite strong public objections.
Local resident Shellie Correia is particularly concerned.
Her 12-year-old son, Joey, has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and it is crucial that he live in a quiet environment.
But now, as part of the Ontario government’s climate change plans, an IWT will be sited only 550 metres from his home, the closest “setback” allowed in Ontario for residents who do not sign lease agreements with wind companies.
The province, which cites a 2010 report from its Chief Medical Officer of Health that found no direct causal links between IWTs and adverse health effects, has claimed the province’s setbacks are “the most stringent in North America”.
In reality, most jurisdictions in Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Europe require greater setbacks. Two kilometres is commonplace.
As Correia explained in her January, 2015 presentation before the government’s Environmental Review Tribunal, “On top of the incessant, cyclical noise, there is light flicker, and infrasound. This is not something that my son will be able to tolerate.”
Correia is supported by her son’s pediatrician, Dr. Chrystella Calvert, a specialist in the care of children with developmental and mental health problems.
Calvert says, “I, as a ‘normal brain’ individual would not want this risk [of an IWT] to my mental health (or my children’s) in my neighbourhood.”
Like most governments, Ontario officials insist the adverse health effects of IWTs are minimal, citing various studies.
But there is much scientific evidence to the contrary and studies are lacking with regards to children.
Krogh, one of the authors of the report on health problems linked to IWTs that appeared in the magazine of The College of Family Physicians of Canada, wrote in a May 13, 2013 open communication to Canada’s health minister, “Vigilance and long-term surveillance systems regarding risks and adverse effects related to children are lacking. … This evaluation should take place before proceeding with additional approvals.”
But the approvals go ahead regardless.
As Correia notes, “Wynne speaks about ‘protecting’ her granddaughter’s future (in defending her government’s plan to introduce carbon pricing through cap-and-trade.) Why then, is it not important for her to protect my son, now?”