Windfall: Anti-Wind Documentary Looks Way Overblown (Video)

Windfall the Movie/Promo image

Wind Power Will Eat Your Babies
I can't wait to see this. Until I do, I guess I'll have to wait to pass judgment on the film itself, which opens today. Right now, I'll just stick to the trailer, which is unintentionally hilarious—what is nefarious, er, Big Wind trying to hide? The filmaker couldn't have made a more sensational anti-wind statement if the coal industry paid her to. Watch:

"Windfall" follows a standard documentary template, 'The Horrors of Big Business Exploiting Unwitting Small Towners', but there's a glaring difference from genre standard-bearers like Gasland, Crude, or Food, Inc—there are no horrors!

The "strobing effect"? The dull hum the turning blades make? And ... what? Some people think they look ugly? These are the horrors that are literally tearing a town apart?

As for that wind turbine that fell off, that happens extremely rarely—and didn't happen at all in the town the documentary is about. Often, the dull hum residents complain about is only audible if you're really, really close (here's a good reference for exactly how loud it is; if turbines are built to regulation, the loudest it gets is refrigerator-level). And the strobe effect" has never, ever, actually driven anyone "crazy". So-called "wind turbine syndrome" has been repeatedly debunked by physicians, and most believe that the symptoms are largely psychosomatic. Yes, it's in the victim's heads.

And that's what's likely happening to the residents of Meredith, NY, where the film is based. People, for varying reasons, decided that they hated these wind turbines popping up in their town (most likely because their neighbors got paid to put them on their property, but they didn't), and got worked up about it. That's what happens in communities—anxiety over a divisive issue spreads like a social virus and people then find ways to channel their anger about it. That phenomenon is something that wind companies should examine, and they should of course have an open dialogue with the communities they deal with.

Of course, not all of the woes are psychosomatic, and the grief experienced by these folks is genuine. New things can seem scary, and inconvenience folks in very real ways—especially if they're loud or casting ominous shadows over your living room. So the wind industry indeed needs to learn to adequately and honestly address these issues, and forge productive relationships with those impacted. But no matter what, some people will detest change, and I doubt wind companies will ever win over all of a given town's population.

And again—it's not like anyone's dying here. Or even, say, had their drinking water contaminated with toxic pollutants. There's nothing dangerous going on, despite that ominous music.

Again, I'll hold final judgment until I see the thing; but starting off with such a biased, hyper-sensationalized trailer isn't any way to stake a claim to objective journalism.

Tags: Movies | Wind Power

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