Meanwhile, Windbaggers resort to Threats, Intimidation

July 8, 2011

I can’t prove that the anti-science “Windbagger” movement is part of the larger right wing astro-turf campaign organized by fossil fuel and Koch-funded interests -yet – but their tactics certainly are reminiscent of what we’ve been seeing elsewhere.

Owen Sound (Ontario) Sun Times reports:

Some local wind-energy supporters say the more they speak out, the more verbal abuse and threats they receive, despite evidence of widespread backing for turbines in Ontario.

Ripley-area farmer and wind energy supporter Jutta Splettstoesser noted an Ipsos Reid poll conducted last July that surveyed 1,361 adults across Ontario and indicated 89% of those surveyed support wind energy in their region of the province.

“We know there is a silent majority out there that supports wind and this just proves it,” she said during a recent meeting at her family farm near Ripley.

But wind-power supporters say rhetoric from opponents is becoming more strident and personal.

Recently a posting appeared on the Wind Concerns Ontario website with a recommendation to teach Splettstoesser a lesson.

“Splettstoesser needs to be tied to a wind turbine blade down at Clear Creek to be spun around a few times to learn something,” a person was quoted as saying in a newspaper story posted on the website this spring. The story was later removed from the website at the reporter’s request.

“It shows on what level (some) people operate. We should have a democratic, fact-based conversation and not be threatening people,” Splettstoesser said.

Splettstoesser spoke in favour of wind power at a recent Grey Highlands council meeting. Meanwhile, opponents of wind energy were holding a rally outside the council chamber, and some of those at the rally were sticking their tongues out at her husband Ralph.

“That’s just disrespectful . . . I want a democratic, rational discussion,” she said.

Wind Concerns Ontario is a provincial umbrella organization that opposes industrial wind turbines. John Laforet, president of the organization, said recently that a Forum Research poll indicated 56% of Ontarians support Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s plan to lower electricity bills by cutting support for more wind or solar projects.

Shirley Underwood, who lives on a farm near Arran Lake, said she’s attended meetings of Arran- Elderslie council where the wind-power opponents far outnumber pro-wind people and dominate the discussion.

“People are shouting. I’ve had people shaking their fists in my face. . . I had people who couldn’t be calm enough that they could shake my hand or say their name or to be able to have a discussion. . . It was a little bit scary. I felt like there was so much anger and hatred. They couldn’t even articulate where that was coming from,” she said.

“I only attend meetings now where I know there will be control and there will be discussion on both sides where everybody will have a say, and I know if I start a sentence I can finish that sentence without someone heckling me,” she added.

Underwood said her husband was at a meeting of the inter-municipal wind turbine working group and found the anti-wind representatives almost uncontrollable.


8 Responses to “Meanwhile, Windbaggers resort to Threats, Intimidation”

  1. prokaryotes Says:

    Leading climate scientist: ‘democratic process isn’t working’

    James Hansen, a climate modeller with Nasa, told the Guardian today that corporate lobbying has undermined democratic attempts to curb carbon pollution. “The democratic process doesn’t quite seem to be working,” he said.

    Walking Home From Walden
    But as I skirted that field on a cold day in May, there was something ominous in the air, which many could feel. The drumbeat of reports on climate change, from scientists and journalists, had grown more insistent, more alarming over the past three years—while the inability of our political establishment to meet the threat, despite the promise of 1/20/09, had grown more alarmingly obvious.

    We could now see with virtual certainty that global warming would bring vast and potentially catastrophic consequences—not least for human beings, beginning with the poorest, most vulnerable, and least culpable—within this century, our own children’s lifetimes, our lifetimes. The full weight of the science told us that it was too late to stop it—if we’d acted sooner, and decisively, we might have stood some chance, but we didn’t. The question now was whether we’d be able to slow it enough to buy ourselves time, and just possibly, at least those with the resources, adapt to a very different planet.

    But the rising tide of evidence wasn’t alarming enough. Anyone who followed the news (and as a journalist I followed it for a living) could see the disaster unfold in real time: As the economy trumped all other issues, we watched world leaders fail to act in Copenhagen; saw Congress failing to act on even weak bipartisan climate legislation; saw an energized environmental movement—including its much-heralded new religious allies, even conservative evangelicals calling for climate action—fail to mobilize grassroots momentum; saw public opinion in fact shift in the opposite direction, toward doubt and denial, and a party openly derisive of climate science mount a political resurgence; saw the most progressive White House in a generation fail to lead.

    As these realities sank in, it felt like a turning point of some kind had been reached. That day at Stone’s Pond, I could no longer pretend, and I knew, with a kind of visceral force: This place is already condemned. In the blink of an eye, it will no longer exist. Not like this. Not the way I know it. And not because some future builder and bulldozer will destroy it, but because they—we—I—already have, by what we’ve already done. Walking through a hayfield on a cold, bright, and gusty New England morning, it can be hard to believe that the Arctic is melting, the oceans acidifying, the great forests dying, ancient glaciers disappearing. But I knew that all of it was true, and that this sanctuary, this refuge, was a private delusion, a self-indulgent fantasy. There was no refuge. There was no sanctuary. Not for me, not for anyone.

    I stopped at the edge of the pond, saw the reflection of trees and sky erased by the wind, and understood: It was time to decide what to do with the time I’m given.

  2. danolner Says:

    “by crisis I mean a deep crisis of identity unlike any, perhaps, since Darwin, or Hiroshima—an unnerving sense that, despite all our science and technology, we don’t really know who we are and where we’re going, or what it means to be alive as a human being at this moment on earth. A sense that we don’t yet know the full magnitude of what we’ve done to the earth and to future generations, beginning with our own children. A paralyzing sense that we’re heading into the unknown, into a new, uncharted wilderness for which we’re not prepared…”

    prokaryotes: wow, great piece of writing, thanks for that. Have you seen these guys? Similar thinking –

  3. kiwiiano Says:

    At the very least, the abusers should be aware that there WILL be cameras and recorders operating and their potty mouths WILL appear on the shrieking billboard of the Internet. Not that they would care probably, it would be a badge of honour to that mindset.

    It’s surprising what a digicam dangling around someone’s neck recording video can pick up. It won’t be Oscar fodder of course, but it is evidence. Turn the display off to conserve battery and choose the lowest video size and/or use the biggest SD card available. Or there are models intended for attaching to helmets etc.

  4. […] is a tremendous amount of fear-mongering going on right now about wind power in Ontario,” said Adam Scott, Green Energy Program Manager, Environmental Defence. “This report aims to […]

  5. […] July I wrote in a post – I can’t prove that the anti-science “Windbagger” movement is part of the larger right wing […]

  6. […] wind turbines were as “bad” for you as windbaggers in the US would like you to […]

  7. […] Windbaggers, my name for the fossil fueled fake “grassroots”, tea-party inspired, anti-science activists who oppose renewable energy development, like to talk about the “threat” posed to birds by wind energy.  The first lie you have to believe is that the Koch Brothers and their allies give a damn about birds, or any other living creature. […]

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