Gutsy woman takes aim at the Big Wind Goliath (Australia)
Aug 13, 2012
—Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
This spring, a bright woman named Mary Morris conducted a survey of the Waterloo Wind Farm (Australia), to see how many people were suffering ill effects from the turbines. Mainly, she was looking for signs of Wind Turbine Syndrome. You can read about her survey here: “Wind Turbine Syndrome documented out to 10 km (Australia).”
First, Mary created her survey form—one for each household. Then she wrote the following cover letter to accompany each survey form:
I am sending your household the attached anonymous survey in order to establish what percentage of people who live in the vicinity of Waterloo Wind Farm have been disturbed by noise, shadow flicker or tv/radio interference from the wind farm since it started operating.
It is also to establish the distance from the turbines at which any disturbance may be occurring.
Results from this survey will be used to inform the relevant Local, State and Federal Government authorities of any disturbance issues which fall within their duty of care.
A summary of the results will be made available to the local community within 4 weeks of the conclusion of the survey.
If you are willing to participate, can you please complete the survey for your household and return it to me in the envelope provided by Friday 4th May 2012.
Please contact me on the phone numbers below if you have any questions.
Thank you for your participation,
Mrs Mary Morris
PO Box 188
5374 Ph (08)85811567 mobile 0438066634
Then she produced this map, with a series of concentric circles labeled A through G, where A=0–1km, B=1–2km, C=2-4km, D=4-5km, E=5-7.5km, F=7.5-10km, G= >10km. (The thick red vertical lines in the center of the map indicate rows of wind turbines.)
She put the map, the survey form and the letter into an envelope, added a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and either hand-delivered it throughout her community, or mailed it. Mary personally made sure that every household was included in the survey. (Being a 4th generation farmer from that area, she knows everybody, and who lives where.)
By consulting the map, people could easily work out where their house was and from that calculate exactly how far away they were from the nearest wind turbine. (Many of the residents are not on a computer, so it was all done by hand and paper copy.)
We publish this courageous and charming story in the hope that other people will use Mary’s ingenious and simple technique to survey their own communities. Don’t rely on the wind developer or a government agency to do it accurately. Do your own—using Mary Morris’s template.
It’s called “grassroots” research. It’s time to measure the true impact of wind turbines on rural communities everywhere.
Comment by Mary Morris on 08/13/2012 at 9:43 pm
Thank you, Calvin.
I hope other communities are empowered by what we are doing and will carry out their own research to reveal the true extent of wind farm effects.
One correction. My home is 17 km from the nearest turbine. Hence, I don’t know absolutely everyone in my area, and where they live. BUT as in many rural communities, almost everyone is connected in some way, be it through school, sport, farming, work, church, social, family and neighbourhood connections. No man is an island.
These effects are happening to real people who are known in the local community and that is what makes it impossible for us to pretend it is not happening, and turn our back on them.
Comment by mark duchamp on 08/14/2012 at 5:42 pm
Great job, Mary! Congratulations.
We will try and get our European members to be inspired by your wonderful example.
Comment by Jackie on 08/15/2012 at 8:57 pm
An important job well done. We know the DAP refused consent for this installation, and we are dissapointed the company is appealing the decision. The Panel made the right decision taking into consideration the Development Plans and how it will affect the districts communities.
I believe the Goyder Council is a strong community minded Council, and hopefully will fight the company in court. If the company goes to court they will not only have your community and Council to contend with, but the whole world who will be watching with great interest a small community and it’s local council up against the might of an International Company and it’s Industry partners.
Civil Rights actavists should also take note at what is happening with how this industry operates and how the South Australian Government has co-operated with them.
That the South Australian Government brought in regulations where a large internationally owned company can Appeal a decision that goes against them, while the citizens of this State cannot, unless a turbine is to be placed WITHIN 1km of their home is beyond me, the company with all its millions up against an individual home owner. Democracy is beaing eaten away here in South Australia.
I wonder if they will use the excuse of the win at Sony Gap to again change the rules to suit the Industry and remove the Council Development Assessment Panels as well, allowing the Industry put their turbines where they want – though of course not in Adelaide or its environs.