To the Expositor:
I think that the wind farm(s) proposals present our communities with choices for significantly divergent futures. Recently, MCSEA presentations about these wind farms appear to focus upon the fear of change. The wind turbines are likened to the mechanical monsters from the “War of the Worlds.” But, as with the Chinese character for change, change and opportunity are often entwined. Whether a society acknowledges that there is need for a basic change in the use of resources and how that society ameliorates such changes has far reaching consequences (J. Diamond, “Collapse”). I understand wind farms—like the recent spat of communications towers—to be signs of the post-industrial economy; like hybrids and iPhones. Roads, telephone and hydro poles, gravel pits, quarries, school buses and other commuters are the residues of the older industrial economy.
The elements about Manitoulin—water, sun and the ancient sedimentary outcropping—have combined with our culture’s energy dilemma to grant us the gift of contributing in a practical way to offset or mitigate our dependence on carbon-based fossil fuels. Manitoulin could take this opportunity to provide our region with one of the greenest energy sources rather that to continue with our generations old role of solely importing others’ dirty energy, whether hydro or petrochemicals.
Locally, the wind farms could provide an opportunity to diversify the Island’s general economic development. Is it possible that our communities could be linked by electric powered buses? Naysayers sometimes argue that wind farms will discourage tourists/visitors. Such farms might just as easily attract the same visitors and sailors that come for the wind, but like electric tech savvy hunters, fishermen and cyclists they can appreciate the visible attempt to have clean electricity. But, again I see the wind farms’ spinning off environmentally-neutral businesses with year round employment that would attract those with 21st century skills.
My guess is that the 21st century will belong to those who acknowledge our current dilemmas and that implement solutions that most of the population will support. I know that my future has electricity and I hope that it will be cleaner than in the past.
Ken L. Mackenzie