Wind Turbines Are Beautiful

February 7, 2019

On the occasion of the approval for what looks like the largest Wind park in Michigan, almost 400 MW – I wrote an op-ed for the Mt Pleasant, MI newspaper.

Mt Pleasant Morning Sun:

Are wind turbines beautiful?

I think so – but it’s normal for each individual’s eyes to respond differently to something new.

I happen to think turbines are beautiful additions to the landscape. But beauty is so often much more than just how something looks externally. Like the face of an old friend – it comes from the deeper story behind what we see.

Globally, 80 percent of the world’s food is produced by family farms.

As farmers get pressed harder and harder, both by the economy, and by changing weather patterns – the farm bankruptcy rate has doubled in the last 5 years in the upper midwest.

Their farms get absorbed into larger farms or sold off for urban sprawl.

Communities wither. Businesses die.

Children leave.

I think that’s ugly.

Wind turbines are a way for farmers to create additional, drought proof income – making farming viable and inspiring young people to stay on the farm and in the community, so families stay together, small communities come back to life.

I think that’s beautiful.

For the last 40 years, hard times in Michigan have meant rural schools have been underfunded, and underperforming. Many have been closed or consolidated.  Children in small towns and rural areas have been shortchanged of the best start in life.

To me, that’s ugly.

On the other hand, Wind turbines have allowed small communities to sustain programs in an economic downturn, hire more professionals, upgrade classrooms, and compete with schools in much larger districts.

I think that’s beautiful.

For the last 100 years our Great Lakes waters have been more and more polluted by heavy metals like mercury – 50 percent of which comes from burning coal – so much that there are restrictions on the fish people can safely eat.

I think that’s ugly, and tragic.

Now, Scientists tell us that the heat trapping gases released by burning fossil fuels like coal are warming the planet, leading to rising seas, more extreme and unpredictable weather  – that threatens the very web of life we depend on to survive.

Our parents didn’t have the knowledge of what fossil fuels were doing to our lakes, our forests, our brains, our lungs, or our atmosphere. And they didn’t have a range of different choices for vital electricity.
Now that’s changed.

Powerful interests are at work to keep Michigan, and the world, dependent on 19th century technology – when a whole new world of energy that is abundant and clean – from fuel that is free – is opening up around us.

Wind turbines are helping Utilities across the Midwest, and throughout the country, see a way to close their coal power plants, allow the air to clear, and help our Lakes – Great and small – recover, along with all the creatures that live in and around them.

And I think that’s beautiful.


7 Responses to “Wind Turbines Are Beautiful”

  1. Zen-fro Sven-dog Says:

    VERY well said, Peter! Most admirable.

  2. Joe DeFors Says:

    One of your best pieces ever – beautiful!

  3. Donald Osborn Says:

    Very well done!!! Well said!

  4. Donald Osborn Says:

    All I can add is that solar is also doing much the same for many family farms. A small part of their acreage can off set the very high utility bills they contend with (pumping, etc) and help them be able to stay in farming.

  5. Dana Pearson Says:

    Your eloquent words are precious and so on point… thanks… am spreading this message…

  6. Gingerbaker Says:

    I want a hefty percentage of your royalties for the wind turbines are beautiful meme. My lawyer will be in contact with your lawyer, no need to cancel polo practice on this account.

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