On a long road trip with my family, we saw many fields full of giant metal blades spinning in the air. My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter asked me, “What are those?”
“Bird choppers,” I explained to her. “We put up large blades in big fields to kill and chop up birds as they fly by.”
“We don’t like birds?” she asked.
“Oh no; we hate them. They do nothing but squawk and poop on things. That’s why we go to such great effort to build these fields of death and kill them in mass quantities.” I studied the spinning blades for a moment. “They’d probably kill more birds if they spun faster. They really should build a coal plant here and provide more power to these things.”
When we got home, I decided to research these bird choppers and find out why they haven’t built more of them in the flight path of the Canada Geese (I hate those things). I discovered something alarming: They aren’t bird choppers at all. They’re called wind turbines and are meant to generate electricity, and the fact that they chop up eagles is unintentional, and people want to prevent that.
There are a lot of stupid things going on here. First off, why do we care about eagles? They’re supposed to have great eyesight but apparently can’t see hundred-foot, moving blades. And it’s not like eagles help us in any way. They don’t vote or pay taxes or pick lettuce for below minimum wage — they’re completely useless to us.
The second stupid thing is this idea of wind power. I’m sure that was a neato idea hundreds of years ago, and there’s probably some issue of Popular Science from the 12th century with a picture of a windmill on the cover, accompanied by a headline proclaiming, “Man will now have nothing but leisure time, as wind will do all his work!” But people soon found that wind was useful for little more than grinding grain, similar to how we never found much use for solar power beyond cheapo calculators. I don’t know why someone thought to bring back wind power now — I guess it seemed like a cutesy idea to turn all that wind blowing around into electricity — but as soon as someone said, “Now, all we need to do is build tons of 30-story metal structures,” someone else should have said, “This is already beyond stupid. Let’s just stick to tiny, simple-to-use coal.”
But the dumbest part isn’t that we’re worried about the eagles or trying to get electricity from wind — it’s the reason they’re building these wind turbines. People want “green” power that doesn’t harm the environment. That’s why they seem so alarmed that despite their good intentions toward the environment, they’re slicing up birds mid-flight. It doesn’t surprise me, though, because I know a fundamental rule: Nature is our enemy, and everything we do will always be in opposition to it.