I follow the debate about wind farms pretty closely, and made my own contribution with a piece noting that opponents often rely on claims that misunderstand how waves spread. Reading a piece by Ketan Joshi on research into the level of infrasound produced by wind farms I came across this comment,
“Perhaps it has nothing to do with infrasound being potentially transmitted through air but via the much more efficient medium of the Earth itself. Animals that use infrasound as a means of communicating over vast distances, do so either through the Earth they’re standing on, or the Ocean they’re swimming in.”
This was the only comment by an opponent/undecided person that was not blindingly stupid or in contradiction to basic physics, so it started me thinking. It is indeed true that elephants and whales use infrasound to communicate over huge distances, and are able to do so because rock and water transmit sound better than air. Having evolved this mechanism, both are very good at producing low frequency noise. Probably a lot better than wind turbines which, after all, are designed to produce as little sound of any frequency as possible – since any energy lost as sound is not going into making electricity.
Whales are probably not a problem, unless you are trying to sleep under water (although those submarine hotels might have something to worry about). But what about elephants? If windfarms really are a threat to the health of everyone in the vicinity, surely elephants must be too?
I live about 700m from Melbourne zoo as the crow flies, or the infrasound travels. That is roughly a third of the distance at which I would be entitled to have a wind turbine blocked under Victorian law. And in that zoo there are elephants! I know, I have seen them with my own eyes. I’ve even donated used corks for the fundraising for their homes – what a fool I feel now.
Here these giant beasts are, making noises too low for us to hear but polluting the nights of much of the inner city, causing loss of sleep, heachaches, nausea and all the other hundred plus problems Dr Simon Chapman has documented as being attributed to Wind Turbine Syndrome. Remember, there is not just one elephant in the zoo, but a whole damn herd of the things. Our newspapers celebrate when new elephants are born, rather than mouring the creation of a new pollution generating device.* Get them out!
I started experiencing a greatly reduced concentration span started not long after I moved into this house. I thought it was the effects of getting on Facebook, but now I know it is the elephants (delayed by a year or so). I have a friend who lives in the Commonwealth Games village – the very same suburb – and suffers from terrible insomnia. The cause now is obvious. She needs an evacuation plan.
I am puzzled, I must say, that no one else seems to have realised this. House prices in Parkville are some of the highest in Melbourne. Do people not realise they are paying huge amounts of money to be exposed to elephant derived pollution? Prices are lower in Brunswick and West Brunswick, but have experienced some of the fastest rises in the Victoria in the last decade. Imagine the conspiracy it must take to keep tens of thousands of residents from catching on. Perhaps everyone who does simply disappears. If you don’t hear from me soon, please conduct inquiries – but for your own sakes, do it discretely.
I do wonder why those brave folk at the Waurbra Foundation, and their generous backers at the Institute of Public Affairs have not gotten onto this. Are they too scared to take on the all powerful zoo lobby? Don’t they realise that more people live within 2km of the zoo than live within 2km of every large windmill in the country – and that is without including other capital city zoos. I shall be writing to the local MP immediately.
*To be fair the babies probably don’t produce much infrasound for quite a few years – but when they grow to be horny adolescents, watch out.