The Global Warming phenomenon is powerful. People across this great country are taking action. They are not waiting for an Act of Congress to be responsible. I drove the rural countryside on Saturday, traveling deep into the Missouri hills. Along the way I saw a sight right out of a Holland Science Fiction movie. There is a wind farm just north of King City, Missouri that awes the imagination. While I was gaping at the sight of gigantic free standing wind turbines, the cows below were peacefully grazing, unconcerned about the technology around them.
Whoa, I thought, holly cow. One possible hope for the future of man’s energy consumption without destroying the ozone has sprouted in a cow pasture. Sort of ironic I thought, since cows are one of the biggest producers of methane gas. But the cows did not seem to mind the windmills and the windmills did not seem to mind the cows. Harmony between man and nature – up to a point.
One has to understand that these new wind generators are nothing less than huge. The immense size is difficult to grasp from a few hundred yards away on the highway. I have read about these things. They are free standing on a single ‘pole.’ The ‘pole’ is a hollow tube with a door in the bottom. A man can walk inside and climb an internal ladder to the top to do any necessary maintenance. From the highway the poles look like mere front yard flagpoles.
The blades are as big as wings on commercial airline jets. I watched, and as is my nature, timed the revolutions. About ten seconds for one complete revolution, about 6 revolutions per minute (6 RPM). I tried to imagine a bird navigating the wind farm. It looked to my untrained eye like any bird that could not easily navigate the slowly revolving blades should probably move to the big city – good country birds will probably not have any difficulty.
John Flicker of the National Audubon Society is well aware of the mixing of technology with wildlife, and wrote, “If we don’t find ways to reduce these emissions, far more birds – and people – will be threatened by Global Warming than by wind turbines.”
In any case the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has asked that the huge wind turbines not be located close to wildlife areas dedicated to protection of migratory birds and other native creatures. They have no official power to regulate State operated Conservation Areas but the company that built the wind generators respected their wishes and has set one mile perimeters around protected areas. Fair enough.
I am pleased that we humans are finding ways to generate the energy required of our lifestyle without disrupting nature. Compromise can work. The world is not all or nothing.