Readers Write: Wind turbines bad for earth, people; wrong US motives in Afghanistan

Letters to the editor for the weekly print issue of February 20, 2012: One reader argues that large industrial wind turbines are inefficient, harmful to communities, and non-eco-friendly. Another sees no validation for the US staying in Afghanistan for economic reasons and influence.

'Wind farms': old behemoths

Regarding the Jan. 30 cover story, "Wind power: clean but mean?": Abandoned industrial-sized wind turbines already litter the globe.

To call them "wind farms" attempts to put a pastoral face on a decidedly industrial entity.

Filled with rare earth minerals mined in the most non-eco-friendly manner in China, these 500-foot-tall behemoths are inefficient to run, expensive to repair, and frequently abandoned when their tax credit has been captured by the corporation or municipality responsible for them.

These turbines require a constant input of electricity from other sources to keep the blades turning in times of low wind.

Their effect on the cultures of the developing world mirrors that felt by picturesque New England communities, populated by environmentally conscious citizens, frequently dependent on tourism and urban weekend homeowners.

No one escapes the city to gaze at a wind farm on fields that used to be inhabited by cows or woods once home to a fragile population of bald eagles.

In many states a "siting council" makes all decisions about where these wind farms will go, with no regard to local regulations or opposition.

One council member hoping to cash in on a career as a "consultant to the energy industry" can steer a decision away from the science (negative health outcomes from vibration, flicker, flying ice) and toward the illusion of clean technology and a cutting-edge solution for oil independence.

In fact, these monster wind turbines are the ghosts of an old technology. They are akin to using a giant, room-sized computer with minimal capacity or speed instead of the latest pocket-sized supercomputer.

Ground-level and roof-mounted devices exceed these large turbines in both output and efficiency.

Roy E. Hitt Jr., MD

Andrea C. Hitt

Winchester Center, Conn.

US presence in Afghanistan

I disagree with Alexander Benard's Jan. 23 opinion piece, "Leave Afghanistan, forfeit a region."

He argues that the United States should maintain a military presence in Afghanistan in order to counter Russia's and China's influences in the region and to make sure that the region's "important natural resources" are not "closed to the US."

I believe that the only acceptable reason to take life is in order to protect life. I find it morally repugnant to wage war and occupy a country for economic reasons.

Perpetuating colonialism is not a good reason for US soldiers to stay in Afghanistan.

Neith Little

Ithaca, N.Y.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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