Alas, it is true. Although I’m sure the deceitful carpetbagging windies and their gullible cultish followers will jump up and down, turn beet red, scream “NIMBY” “NIMBY” NIMBY” at the top of their lungs and say it ain’t so — all of which, by the way, are typical bully boy tactics of distraction which those folks use on a regular basis.
Yup. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but turbine noise can, indeed, be faster than a speeding bullet. Low frequency noise and vibration are steadfast companions to those 400 foot high throbbing turbines and plenty is being said about their detrimental effect on humans and wildlife on land. (For a peek at the gruesome details, read the sad example of Kay Armstrong of Clear Creek, ON on the north shore of Lake Erie at windturbinesyndrome.com )
But are you aware of the more appalling effect in an aquatic freshwater environment like Lake Erie? Would you believe that the low frequency noise/vibration effects can be even worse to God’s scaley-cum-slimey creatures (which are worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy)?
On land at 20 degrees C, sound travels at 343 metres per second. That’s pretty darned fast. But underwater — say in a place like Lake Erie or Lake Ontario — sound actually rips along almost 4.5 times faster at 1,484 m/s. This is an incredible feat since a speeding rifle bullet usually doesn’t top 1,000 m/s. That physical stunt is used in a positive manner by animals such as the largest whales which can communicate over hundreds of miles of vast ocean by vocalizing in low frequency tones. Elephants pull the low frequency vocal trick out of their trunks (and feet) as well. But low vibes ain’t all good, especially when it comes to industrializing-marginalizing rural and natural areas…
Now imagine those poor Great Lakes fish — millions and millions of them — in a big goldfish bowl the size of Lake Erie. I call it a goldfish bowl because it is virtually an enclosed space of only 92 km (57 mi) width and 388 km (242 mi) length at most — those are the extremes. That might seem like a huge space but it’s a drop in the bucket in the ocean world where marine mammals and fish can traverse thousands of miles with no impediments or borders to restrict their movements or routes of escape. To put it in plain language, Great Lakes fish are homies — the majority stick to the surrounding neighbourhood and don’t travel the world like their saltwater brethren. Whatever goes on in the shallow pool of their ‘hood directly impacts them.
Say, for example, dozens/hundreds/thousands of pulsating industrial wind turbines are placed down the watery street from fishy spawning grounds, feeding areas or travel routes. Suddenly there’s throbbing low frequency noise above the water — which hits boaters or human shoreline residents lickety-split zipping along at 343 m/s — but also a barrage of underwater vibration/noise travelling even faster at 1,484 metres/second.
Let’s do the math: If those towers are placed at the widest point of Lake Erie two kilometres off the shoreline — supposedly a safe distance from human inhabitants (wink, wink) — they’d only be 90 km from the opposite, U.S. side of the pond. That would mean that a series of throbbing, low frequency pulses coming down the towers into the humongous concrete foundations (the ones that screwed the lakebed up) would disperse outwards and reach our friendly American neighbours’ toes — the ones dangling in their sandy shoreline water — in 61.99 seconds. Check my math, but I think I got that right. Since the rotating blades of the turbines will likely be out-of-synch with their neighbours, you’ll have a “rat-a-tat-tat-tat” chorus of thumps coming down the tubes. As band leader Lawrence Welk once quipped, “Wunnerful, wunnerful, wunnerful.”
Yup, a minute and a bit is all it will take to rip across that pond underwater, which would come as no surprise to a blue whale or other underwater sound blaster. The difference between that whale and a 400 foot high turbine? One knows when to shut up, the other doesn’t. And big blues usually don’t travel in tight knit packs of dozens, hundreds or thousands. There are many good reasons why no one in the world has been stupid enough to put offshore turbines in freshwater environments. Take your pick.
The zoned out fish in Lake Erie — the ones getting pounded by the underwater barrage of those offshore turbines (and, by the way, the fish will also likely get hit with out-of-synch noise entering from above the water) — feel the pain on at least two levels:
- Sound vibrations will go through their bodies to internal ears which also happen to give them their sense of balance
- Low frequency waves will hit the sensory hotspots of their “lateral lines” which run lengthwise down their bodies, disrupting the fish’s sixth-sense ability for schooling purposes and for prey detection.
Let’s not even get into the subject of what it’ll do to their sex life! Call me an alarmist, but there’s a heck of a lot of money tied up in the freshwater sport and commercial fisheries of Lake Erie — likely more $$$ than anywhere else on the planet. And those proposed (but totally unnecessary) turbines threaten to destroy that economic treasure trove.
Going beyond the economic benefits of the Great Lakes, there’s a spiritual connection to be made along the relatively undeveloped shorelines of those world famous water bodies. Looking out over the horizon from many locations, you’re seeing the same sight that the early explorers were treated to. This is especially true around Ontario’s provincial and national parks. Add even one turbine and the magic is shattered. Industrialization replaces tranquility and marginalization creeps in. Once one turbine is there, why not a few dozen or a hundred or a pipeline crossing to boot?
There’s a goofy T-shirt that I once saw that showed a couple of canoeists on the front of it. The caption, a take on the movie Deliverance, was “Paddle Faster, I Hear Banjos!”. If the windies, their brainwashed urban greenie followers and the corrupt government of Ontario get their destructive way, another watery T-shirt slogan may come to be: “Paddle Faster, I Hear Windies Coming!”. Same outcome in both scenarios. You get screwed in the rearend!
The Wildlife Wizard