What you need to know if you are:
-Feeling new sensations since the turbines became operational?
-Pre-existing conditions symptoms becoming worse?
-Having trouble coping?
-Family and friends don’t understand because they aren’t feeling anything?
-When even you don’t understand what is going on with your body, how could anyone else?
-When they don’t, what happens?
Like many people living in Industrial Wind Projects, initially you may not connect the dots. Denial is strong initially. Sensations surface, sometimes occurring days, weeks or months after exposure, some beginning subtly, some not. The only thing you really know for sure is they did not exist prior to the turbines becoming operational. Sensations you have never felt before. Or pain of existing conditions worsening. Symptoms typically come and go, the latter most often when you leave your home, resulting in delaying making Dr.’s appointments until they persist and worsen.
Eventually, people go to their health practitioners, cite their symptoms and the tests begin, with the aim of discovering the source of your discomfort, usually to no avail. No real results but you get prescribed medications for your symptoms because your Dr. is trying to help you. The reality is they don’t even know about the connections between health and emissions from turbines. They don’t ask about your environment because they don’t connect the dots either. They have not been educated on this phenomena mainly because the people who fund them are not invested in having an outcome that casts a shadow on the illusion that the wind is ‘free clean and green’.
Most people, by this point, have heard the rumblings about health concerns and wind turbines but never really thought much about it, or that they themselves would experience anything. They don’t want to think that these machines could actually do harm when their government assures them they do not cause harm. People know they are costing a fortune but precious little else.
There is a reluctance to share health complaints with others, after all, health is highly personal and not meant for public fodder. Your community has already been stressed because of the turbines and the majority have tried to not become involved, likely feeling they do not have the expertise to comment. All the while symptoms continue intermittently and it becomes more challenging to think, to work and to continue living life as you had been.
You are part of a family and community and other members or friends don’t seem to be experiencing what you are – or those who are, aren’t sharing. You may try talking to them about your experience but they don’t feel what you feel and don’t know how to help you. Often they suggest you just need to ‘get used to it’. While some may be initially supportive they are really at a loss. You believe they think you need a tin foil hat and for a time, you believe this as well, resulting in feelings of confusion, anger and resentment, to name just a few. You may still be in this phase. Rest assured. You are not crazy.
So what are your choices?
Door Number One:
1.. Do nothing.
Door Number Two:
2.. Do something.
Personally, I am opting for Door No. 2. but that’s just me.
In addition to the ongoing strategies employed at a macro level, I thought sharing my experience living in and around three Industrial Wind Turbine Projects may help others.
Am I an expert on wind turbines? I am of the belief that we are all experts in our own lives, inviting or including others into our experiences as we see fit (or as society dictates in some cases). As such, I am expert on myself and how I interpret my surroundings. Do I know everything there is to know about wind turbines? Absolutely not. What I have come to understand however, is pretty extensive.
To provide some context to this, I decided to better educate myself after learning turbines were coming to our community (and more specifically to the neighbours directly around our home). I then spent significant amounts of time researching turbines, given I had initially supported the government’s position on wind energy (which despite global evidence compiling daily – they refuse to take their heads out of their asses and change). After better understanding the potential negative impacts occurring with Projects, I began speaking out, writing letters, going to meetings and protests, testifying in Environmental Review Tribunals and generally educating others, making noise wherever possible. (again … Door No. 2) I was fortunate in that my career had afforded me plenty of opportunities to advocate for other people’s rights so I believed I had at least some skills that I thought could help effect change. As it turns out, not anywhere near what I needed.
The first Project became operational in July 2014 and consisted of 37 1.6 MW turbines, four to five km north of our home. The second came online several months later, consisting of 63 turbines east of our home, of similar size, the closest being 2 to 3 km away. Lastly, we are were saddled with 10 of the forty 3.2 MW turbines within 2 km of our home, the largest turbines on land.
I experienced my first symptoms five days after the first Project began. Since then, we have tried a number of strategies, e.g. magnetic beds, light therapies, etc. in an effort to feel better. Of note, we were ready to move out and rent elsewhere for one year, focusing on restoring our deteriorating health, PRIOR to the last, closest and largest project coming online in March 2016. While these, and other strategies helped initially, sensations eventually worsened over time and those devices simply were no longer enough.
The only reason we have not yet moved, is the installation and operation of an Infrasound Suppression Device created by Kevin A. Dooley Inc., an R & D company from Toronto, recently relocating to Bluewater. While the technology has not yet been perfected, requiring two more updates which should occur within the next few months, it has provided us with significant relief so far. Symptoms have not disappeared but they have decreased in intensity and frequency which has allowed us to remain living in the home we love and remain on the land that has been in the family since the mid-1800’s.
The underlying premise is that infrasound is linked to a host of health issues. Among the many things we have yet to learn is how the reduction of infrasound in your immediate surroundings impacts individuals, considering differing lengths of exposure.
We recognize choosing this path is controversial. Concerns have been shared that the machine would be seen as a solution, allowing wind companies and government cohorts to go even crazier with siting turbines. Or that this will not address those without the ability to get this machine or have it in their barns or how animals and eco systems will continue to suffer. We stand firm in our belief, adopted from the inventor ‘We have to stop the bleeding first’. Given the severity of our health situations, we have not had to, nor do we intend to defend our position any further than that.
If you are suffering living in or near a wind Project and reading this, you do not however, at least at this point, have a machine. You have a lack of understanding on the part of the health care system, embroiled in its own battles with the provincial government. You may be suffering or have a family member(s), who suffer. For any number of legitimate reasons, you can’t leave the area. Your family, your connections, all are here, perhaps for generations. Besides, where can you go even if you wanted to (and some nights, believe me, you want to). The damn things seem to be everywhere. By now, you may even have heard people have left, only to have Projects spring up beside them wherever they moved to. (My suggestion…. pick a Liberal riding. Minimal chance any will go up there. Oh but right, those ridings are mainly urban areas, where we have no desire to live.)
What happens next?
Communities and families have already been hugely impacted. Couples have separated. People have left. How can you manage?
First, wrap your head around the following three principles:
- You are not alone.
I read somewhere that the true source of all man’s pain is the thought of being alone. I agree.
Know that changing the way you think will help to change the way you feel. We are all connected. (Okay, I know it feels slimy to think we are connected to those who have made the decisions that brought this invasion into out lives but the reality is, they put their pants on one leg at a time and somebody is their mother) Does it help to know that others GLOBALLY are experiencing similar symptoms and sensations? Can connecting with them help? I think so. It has helped me. Can it add to the frustration? Yes. (It also can push people to choose Door No. 2) At the risk of sounding too spiritual, connecting with something greater than yourself has also helped. Significantly.
2. You are not crazy.
So how do you manage? This is painful. It is torturous at times. It all feels a bit surreal, others seem to be doing fine yet you are having trouble putting one foot in front of the other. In addition to the physical sensations, the feelings are overwhelming. Irritation, chronic inflammation, head pressure, headaches, eye pressure, vision loss, forgetfulness, dizziness, depression, anxiety, nausea, joint pain, heart palpitations, vertigo, jittery feelings and the list goes on. You might have been called crazy, you might feel you are crazy. Crazy is pretty relative. We all get that the brain is a pretty complicated organ and again, we all sit at the table with a variety of experiences and capabilities. This situation can stress people beyond what they have ever experienced. Toughen up. People can think you are crazy. It is their right. You can remain invested in changing their opinion of you or not. If someone you love thinks you are crazy, that is a different story. You care about that. You want to change their minds. You become hurt/angry when you aren’t successful. You stop talking. You start withdrawing. You don’t know what to do or where to turn. And you wonder if you are crazy. So work on changing that thought. Even when you can’t think straight. It helps to know that it is worse when the Nacelle of the turbine is facing you. That is when you are really getting blasted with infrasound, the inaudible noise of the turbines. It is worse inside so get outside if you can.
3. You are responsible for managing your own pain.
We all are managing pain and we all have different mechanisms by how we do so. They are learned over a lifetime with some working better far than others at times. (Looking at Door No. 2 again) If you are in a relationship where someone does not understand your pain, you still need to manage it, plus the feelings of resentment that can grow from living in this situation. Do you remember the saying, “Kids don’t make a marriage, they break a marriage?” I see this weird quasi bio-socio-economic experience we find ourselves in when living in Project areas, similarly. Turbines can destroy relationships and take families down. Or not. Much seems to depend on our own ability to manage what life has thrown at us.
Make no mistake, this is not blaming the victim. For those people who have faced this crisis and suffered even greater losses with their families and dreams crumbling around them because of being unfortunate enough to be living in a Project areas, I am not sitting here in judgement or assigning blame. I am simply saying that we each have to do what we can, within our capabilities to survive. The Chinese had two symbols for a crisis. One meant life / death and the other meant opportunity. We have to do what we can to survive. If that means leaving an untenable situation, that is what it means. That takes courage. (that darn Door No. 2 keeps popping up!)
If you do NOT live within a turbine project….and someone you love is……know they are experiencing real sensations and they don’t want to be in this position even less than you want them to be. This also applies to those who live within Projects but aren’t experiencing health affects. Know that you are damn lucky. Know that the person you care about can’t just ‘get used to it’. That is just not physically possible for them. Forgive yourself for not believing in them earlier and move to learning patience and understanding as you would for any other disease or illness someone you care about faces. We all want to avoid our reality in this situation. You are not alone. You also need to manage your pain in addition to the feelings of helplessness you may be experiencing.
If you are Not Living in or around turbines, please think about those who are and who are in the unfortunate minority of experiencing negative health affects. There are retirement and nursing homes housing vulnerable people, elementary schools teaching our children, those populations don’t even have a seat at the table. They have NO VOICE but a lot of skin in this game. Your passions may lay elsewhere but know that any energies you are able to expand in this area can help. Know that you are extremely lucky NOT to be put in this situation by the people whom you continue to pay to provide you with good and sound governance. You can help to make them accountable, at minimum to the applying the Precautionary Principle they expect of all other industries. Or you could always work on restoring democracy wherever you happen to live. In Ontario rural populations have suffered with the removal of our rights to determine a veto or have a say in setbacks of turbines when the ruling party pushed through the Green Energy and Economy Act of 2009. Our Premier is fond of the adage; ‘Ontario – Everyone Matters’. Boots on the ground evidence show our reality is quite the opposite. ‘Ontario – NOT Everyone Matters’.
At the end of the day, we all live with whatever doors we choose.
In the coming months, I will be writing more about our experiences in the hopes that sharing will help. Your comments can help.
Patti Kellar RSW