Harmful Fuels or Renewables and Living
It seems like the environment is in a constant state of uproar. Pollution has worked to decay the ozone layer over the last thirty years that has led to a greenhouse effect on the planet. The problem is that the pollution that has caused the decay comes from the carbon emissions, and fossil fuels that we use to generate electricity, and gasoline to help us live our daily lives. This definitely makes the case that there is a difference between living and living well. It ended up boiling down to a case of do we continue to use the harmful fuels to power our world or do we continue to live.
— Karen Maskall(@kar3n2) July 1, 2012
Harnessing the Power of the Wind
Several European nations (Holland in particular) have been harnessing the power of wind to provide electricity. This works by using wind turbines (giant fans) to harness the wind and help convert it into electricity. Many of these wind farms are located on land as well as offshore. This technology has also become popular in the United States and China. While all of this sounds good, certain environmental groups have begun to complain that these offshore wind farms are hurting wild life.
Protesting the Wind Farms by Environmentalists
Wind Farms have caused a small uproar with environmentalists who believe that the fans are a hazard to birds that may fly into the blades. While this may sound absurd, do keep in mind that these fans are at least 80 feet high and have blades that are about the same size. This does give a bit of credence to the environmentalists. However, upon further study, it was found that the exact opposite is true.
Many environmentalists believe that the wind turbines will negatively affect the bird populations (remember small birds in giant fans).
Studies revealed that:
- many bird species simply avoided the turbines altogether
- birds function on instinct and that instinct told them to avoid the fan blades
- other bird species like seagulls simply did not care about the turbines or did not feel threatened by the turbines
- scientists who observed the effects of wind turbines on wild life were unable to determine how many birds were caught in the fan blades but assume that the numbers were quite low based on what they observed.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any bird deaths from the turbines. There are many shocking reports of wildlife deaths like this example on Resilient Earth : Wind Power Green and Deadly.
On the other hand there are more deaths to birds caused by ( please note these studies were carried out in areas of US and Canada and are an illustration of other causes fo bird deaths which may be applied globally)
Glass Windows: Bird Deaths a year: 100 to 900+ million
Dr. Daniel Klem of Muhlenberg College has done studies over a period of 20 years, looking at bird collisions with windows. His conclusion: glass kills more birds than any other human related factor.
House Cats: Bird Deaths a year: 100 Million
The National Audubuon Society says 100 million birds a year fall prey to cats. Dr. Stan Temple of the University of Wisconsin estimates that in Wisconsin alone, about 7 million birds a year are killed by cats
Cars and Trucks: Bird Deaths a year: 50 to 100 Million
Scientists estimate the number of birds killed by cars and trucks on the nation’s highways to be 50 to 100 million a year. Those statistics were cited in reports published by the National Institute for Urban Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Agriculture: Bird Deaths a year: 67 million
Pesticides likely poison an estimated 67 million birds per year according to the Smithsonian Institution. Cutting hay may kill up to a million more birds a year.
Communication Towers: Bird Deaths a year: 4 to 10 million
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that bird collisions with tall, lighted communications towers, and their guy wires result in 4 to 10 million bird deaths a year.
Oil and Gas Extraction: Bird Deaths a year: 1 to 2 million
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that up to 2 million birds died landing in oil pits to bathe and drink in 1997. Fish and Wildlife says netting has improved that situation somewhat. There are no overall estimates for the number of birds affected by oil and gas spills, and oil and gas extractions (and transport.)
Electric Transmission Lines Collisions: Bird Deaths a year: up to 174 million
Estimates made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demonstrate millions of birds die each year as a result of colliding with transmission lines.
Hunting: Bird Deaths a year : 100+ million
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 100 million ducks, geese, swans, doves, shorebirds, rails, cranes, among others are harvested legally each year.
It’s just a matter of us being able to put it all into perspective but at the end of the day there is still a clear need for us to make advances to the current wind turbines to make them bird and wildlife smart.
Other environmentalist complained that the turbines from offshore wind farms were damaging the local marine habitats.
Studies revealed that:
- wind farms had a beneficial impact on wild life
- many of the local sea life found the wind farms to be a rest stop along the busy waterways
- many sea creatures such as anemones, crabs, and mussels have created new habitats inside the wind farms
This proves that wind farms have not impacted the environment in a negative fashion, but have actually contributed to the bio diversity of the local ecosystem.
Many of the problems that people have had with wind farms is that it is still a new technology that many do not understand yet. However given time, the benefits of wind farms will show themselves to the world, and fossil fuels will eventually become a thing of the past.