A Nova Scotia “Preacher Man” tells his story

To Whom It May Concern: (This letter is a response to a request… It’s a long story, but so is yours……and I’d like to hear it some time! This is mine!)

All is environmental, including humans, but it’s no surprise to see it so denigrated when one of our elected councilors stood up, and in public said: “I don’t care about the birds.”   It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s a short leap to jump to “I don’t care about the people either, if they stand in the way of economic development”, while failing to recognize that the real ‘economy of the nation’ is the people….

Since November 2010, I have lived in proximity to 20 Wind Turbines on Digby Neck in South West Nova Scotia. Situated on the top of the North Mountain in the villages of Rossway, Gulliver’s Cove, and Waterford, they are some 17 km. west of the Town of Digby on Highway 217. I live alongside the highway, and as a rough guess, about ¼ mile or so away from the nearest one.

From the onset of the project, I took it upon myself to determine the facts and truths about the Wind project. To summarize, they were not always that forthcoming from those in the world of politics and big business. I have found a lengthy letter I wrote in 2009 to the Environment Assessment Branch which serves as a comprehensive back-drop to what was involved in that. (Should anyone request it, I shall send it to you.)

Over the course of time, I learned a great deal about the pros and cons of Wind Power, esp. as related to the areas of environment and health. There was so much available online from Ontario Wind Resistance, and many other sources too numerous to count. I especially derived much insight from the Nina Pierpont (MD, PhD) book: WIND TURBINE SYNDROME – A Report on a Natural Experiment….2009.

I learned also so much more about political and entrepreneurial issues than I’d ever met before, and of what I considered a gradual erosion of democracy taking place before my eyes. I offer this to make it clear that it is difficult to share my experience as if I was coming from a blank page. Of course not! (Nor either from ‘a blank mind’.)

However, constantly aware of my own prejudices and bias’ o’er the course of time, I set out now to share my personal experience living in the shadow of Wind Machines as fairly and objectively as I can – under the guidance of the Spirit who has led me through my life.

Those who know me well can attest that when I have axes to grind, I know upon whose doorstep I need to leave them. It doesn’t make one a popular man, but it enables one to look at himself in the mirror without a bat of an eye, and go to bed and sleep well.

Sleep well? Until last November anyway.  Now let me tell you my story.

Late last fall, in spite of the accumulated knowledge to which I refer above, I began awakening through the night, often two or more times. (Despite my advanced age of 3 score plus 15, I have excellent inner plumbing, lest you attribute it to that.)

I found myself wide awake for no reason for long periods of time, and at the same time realized I was hearing a swishing noise in my head, repeatedly. I knew it was not entering my ear, but was happening ‘inside’ my head. Eventually, I found myself up almost every morning before4 AMbecause sleep would not come. (How many mornings I was waiting roadside for the Daily Paper at that hour I cannot count…..but the Paper Carrier would be a credible witness if you wish to confirm….)

So puzzling was the experience that I undertook to experiment, first of all taking my head off the pillow. Sometimes, after in a sit-up position for a while, the inner noise would abate. On another occasion, I found myself laying flat on the floor (I have a shower behind my bedroom door), with the shower door opened wide, and my left ear glued to the drain to see if there was noise rising up from there. Almost, sadly, there wasn’t. It would have offered a source, and a plan to overcome it would have been sought.

The more devious than I would have logically come to the proper conclusion right away. I didn’t! (Afterall, by formation and by personal conviction, I had spent a lifetime always trying to give the benefit of the doubt without judging anyone….and the few times I recall betraying that, I was usually wrong.)

Consequently, it was several weeks before I added one and one: I was dealing with Wind Turbine Syndrome!  “Swish, swish, swish, swish”, night after night after night-all winter long!  Unrelentlessly until the winds changed in spring.

I kept it no secret (but suspect few believed, and as many more could have cared less). I contacted Nova Scotia Power and rec’d gobbeldy gook in return. I wrote to politicians – most of whom ignored me because they couldn’t take the heat- while others reversed the tables with visions of a soft old padre in their heads- responding with their problems and woes!

Historically, this old preacher has been accused of being “a bleeding heart”, and the reputation must have got around….Ah well, better to have a heart that bleeds for the people and the underdogs and voiceless, than politicians whose hearts are filled with ‘visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads’ and loonies and toonies for hearts….And they do abound!

Nova Scotia Power referred me to a CLC Committee* in my neighborhood where I could express my grievance. Informed that there was a Chair, I also learned that he/she doesn’t like to call meetings.(*CLC = Community Liaison Committee)

That left one choice: I should go to her/him to have a chit-chat, much like the Confessional – and one can assume- and trust! (Suffice to say, the penitents in the Confessionals of the Church – whatever be its’ failings – can rest more securely in God’s forgiveness than in a little ‘tete-a-tete’ with one where few,if any, conversations are kept ‘sub secreto’ in these little villages, and all the more less likely to get a favorable hearing, but rather be ‘dissed’ and labeled as a trouble-maker against Wind Turbines on Digby Neck behind his back!

All that aside, I recalled hearing the noise I experience in my ear – or a reasonable facsimile – back when I was a teenager in the early 50’s. Electricity arrived back then and my grandparents brought it into the old farm house back on the Miramichi where I grew up…Not too long after, they bought a second hand wooden electric washing machine!

I forget what name we gave it (and the alias’ ascribed are not fit for nice company), but it could be heard a half mile away when windows and doors were opened in the house. The noise was an unrelenting “swish, swish, swish, swish” exactly what infra-sound brings into the unsuspecting head when trying to sleep underneath the shadow of a Wind Rig.

Not everyone has the ‘medical propensity’ – if I dare call it that – to suffer from such a condition. ( In fact, on one cold winter’s day, I welcomed one who came to my door, to realize later an emissary had been sent to subtly inform me that such only took place in but one in every hundred thousand people…..following my having circulated a letter to the “Who’s Who” of power, which I dare to name Consumerism and Greed.

How silly for me to believe at the time that it was a neighborly visit…..But then, this may well be another instance in which ‘I was wrong!’ for judging so. Setting my paranoia aside, I still think I was right!

It seems that I do have such a medical situation on my hands – as in my head-, and it is causing me great grief. To cut to the chase: “How much sleep can we lose every night without suffering serious health issues?” I do not have a family doctor since mine left town, and I dare not self-diagnose. Suffice to say, that I have been blessed with good health, but in the past months am feeling and fearing symptoms neither good for the body nor the soul.

I love the place where I live, an old church where I began my ministry in 1965, and which I found surrounded by briers and alders and rocks, and I restored for my imminent retirement in 1995.Other than for the building, I can proudly say that it was “the work of (my) human hands” that brought this land back to life. I don’t want to leave it.

If my symptoms persevere (lessened in summer because of the change of winds most days- but not always) I shall either have to move or be carried out on an undertaker’s stretcher. It’s no secret that I am searching for another place, but some of what I’ve seen- though not as scenic nor as comfortable as mine- are well and beyond in price of anything that I can get for my place.(One thing the Christians can never say is that they overpaid their clergy regardless of the ‘stripes’, so no great big bank accounts or ‘fat cat ’bonus’ when they retire…as at NSP.)

Truthfully, I had planned to spend my last days here, I so loved the place- and before our lives here turned topsy-turvy at the hands of governments at every level, hand in hand with the Corporate world—- regardless of what they say – without real consultation nor semblance of democracy-in-action, had planned to give this place back to Digby Neck. (My MLA can attest to that in conversation some years ago). Now, if I can get enough cash out of it to rent a seniors apartment somewhere, that may be all I can expect….and no consolation! (And please, NO BINGO’S to help me along….)

This is not to exact pity from anyone. It’s just to say how misguided politicians cannot see below the tip of the iceberg. For one more time, I shall say what I have been saying for years now, in the face of all the “Home Invasions” to which we have been exposed on Digby Neck by our politicians abed with consumerism and greed: People do not count!

I don’t think one of our ‘electi’ have knocked at the doors of any who are living under these Wind Machines…..not one – since they got planted there, and people are either speaking out, or silently living in denial or thinking: “What’s the use?”

Many of these folks (and they do talk to me), are seniors, and an aging group just behind them, who “make their bread by the sweat of their brow”…..They may not so define themselves, but they are amongst “the working poor.” They don’t ask much of anyone.  They’d like to be left alone to ply their respective trades to put food on their tables and a roof over their children’s heads and their own. If you only knew how hard they work, and their admirable resiliency, you’d be totally amazed!

Some of them are not sleeping nights; some suffer migraines; some are parts of families divided now because of what this Wind Rig Farm is doing to them. Some people- friends and neighbors for many years- do not speak to each other anymore. Another stab in the back of community! Does that make any politician proud?  You?

I know, I know, about all the laws and regulations which governments impose upon our local politicians. (I served an organization for many years that had the same, and more, but each of us in the ‘religious biz’ – I would hope – knew there was a higher law inscribed in the hearts of men called ‘conscience’).

 I’ve listened ‘ad nauseam’ o’er the times to politicians who choose to toe the party line, rather than to speak up and out for the people they serve. If enough of them cared for the people, and stood up in their defense, they could change the laws which bind, and are so detrimental to the good of the people; and make the world a better and more decent place.|

All this rant, of course, is to say how a Wind operation on Digby Neck is affecting the rare indigenous plants as much as anything else…All is environmental, including humans, but it’s no surprise to see it so denigrated when one of our elected councilors stood up, and in public said: “I don’t care about the birds.”  It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s a short leap to jump to “I don’t care about the people either, if they stand in the way of economic development”, while failing to recognize that the real ‘economy of the nation’ is the people….

I have been asked to write this. I have as honestly, and with as much passion and compassion that I can muster up, presented my full truth about the effects on myself and on many in my community. Nor do I have anything to gain or to lose by writing it.

If you find it a bit long: so be it!  I was a ‘preacher man’ for many years, and I always wanted to make sure the good folks in the pews got their money’s worth!

You may circulate this as widely as you wish. People need to grasp the full context of the environment not just in which we live, but which, in fact, WE ARE! Not that I espouse pantheism: not at all. My intent is to say that ‘all created things are inter-related’, and ‘co-dependent’ on each other for survival’…..to wit: the lowly earth worm would survive if all humans disappeared from the face of the earth, while on the other hands, if all the earth worms were to die at once, it wouldn’t be too long before all other sentient beings would die too…..including you and I……

God, Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, Creator, Spirit, Truth, or Mother-Earth rely on us to make that proclamation. To do or say less is to diminish ‘man’ to the level of a rock. (Rocks are non-sentient, of course!)

May Blessings be upon us all in our pursuit of the Truth.

Daniel Mills
RR 4, Digby NS

PS: I am not against Wind Power, ‘per se’…….dm

3 thoughts on “A Nova Scotia “Preacher Man” tells his story

  1. A very powerful letter indeed! Thank You for sharing your experience with us Daniel.
    I`d be willing to bet, that the Digby Neck, Industrial Wind Turbine installation, is quite typical of the average one, anywhere in the world, in that most of the people in the immediate vicinity, are in fact, negatively affected, to varying degrees, as Daniel related, but for their own reasons, don`t come forward.

    It`s too bad really, because until enough people speak up, it`ll only get worse.They aren`t doing anyone or anything any favours, least of all the environment! In fact it`s hurting the environment staying silent. They need to speak up and speak out, any time after now!
    Thanks again Daniel,and God Bless you, be well.

  2. I am deeply touched, Douglas, and nigh on to tears with your reply…..(There were Moran’s on the MIramichi where I came from too….in St.Margarets..and probably still are…..Salt of the earth folk.)

    Just when one could easily throw in the towel, an inspiration comes along to keep one going…You just added another reason for ‘truckin’ on’…..Thanks…….danny

  3. From: http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/8/josh-17.html
    For Lucia, with thanks for the haikus.
    (Blame Mike Post and Don Pablo for quoting Shelley the other day and setting me off.)

    I met a traveller from a distant shire
    Who said: A vast and pointless shaft of steel
    Stands on a hill top… Near it, in the mire,
    Half sunk, a shattered turbine lies, whose wheels
    And riven blades and snarls of coloured wire
    Tell that its owners well their mission read
    Which did not last nor, nowhere to be seen,
    The hand that paid them and the empty head.
    And scrawled around the base these lines are clear:
    ‘My name is Millibandias, greenest Green.
    Look on my works, ye doubters, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round this display
    Of reckless cost and loss, blotless and fair,
    The green and pleasant landscape rolls away.

    Apr 8, 2010 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered Commenter Dreadnought

    For those of greater curiosity — search for Ozymandias…
    e.g.
    Shelley, Percy Bysshe and Theo Gayer-Anderson (illust.) Ozymandias. Hoopoe Books, 1999. ISBN 977-5325-82-X

    Although sometimes I think it to be more in the style of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack episodes. But certainly not the Epic Cycle… as most of the story of wind turbines has been so badly written.

    Alas poor Crawley — I knew him well…

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