Meaford Talk

I gave a talk in Meaford last night, at the invitation of Greg and Suzanne. It was held in the beautifully refurbished Meaford Hall. I was impressed with their choice of T5 flurorescent lights – close to the most energy efficient of all. Meaford gets it. The title of the talk, as suggested by my hosts was, Windpower: Facts and Myths.

It was very well attended, and more chairs had to be brought in. The audience was mostly from Meaford and surrounding areas. Several Municipal Councillors were there. After talking about some of the myths about wind power, I closed the talk by saying, “I’m scared. I’m not scared that we can’t solve the issue of climate change. I’m scared that the defenders of the status quo will keep us from solving the problem.”

It turns out there were some defenders of the status quo in the audience. Audience members themselves participated in the arguments with these folks, at least one of whom had travelled an hour and a half from Kincardine to be there. They asked questions and made statements based on things they had found on the internet. A new coal plant is being built in Germany. So what? The capacity credit given to wind by a German utility, a clearly biased entity, is only 6%. And your point is? Ontario is building natural gas plants to back up wind. Good – it’s better than coal and nuclear. I think Suzanne expressed the sentiment of the crowd well in the thank you she sent.

She said, “Thank you so much for the talk you gave last night. We really enjoyed it and learned a lot we didn’t know before. The vast majority of the people there were eager and willing to know more about wind power. I think they also went away more knowledgeable. Both of us were taken aback by the presence of those bullies and we apologize for not defending you, our guest. It is difficult to know what to do when faced with people who are obviously well organized, and have experience at disrupting such gatherings. My only consolation is they said a great deal more about themselves than about the evils of windpower. I’m sure the audience, albeit disappointed they didn’t get more question time, feel that way too.

Thanks again for the time and thought you put in your speech.”
After the talk, there was a line up of people to give me comments, and ask questions. One of the town councillors said, “Don’t you worry about them. We’ve had this on our landfill discussions. Don’t let it stop you. Keep doing what you are doing.” I appreciate her sharing her wisdom. Some of the people were embarrassed by the behaviour of some in the meeting. Bullfrog Power brochures flew out the door.
Herman Scheer’s book was where I first understood clearly that the battle for sustainability is a battle with the forces of the status quo, who will use every tactic known to try to discredit renewable energy. We need to fight for what is right. And that is what we will do.
As I drove home, my determination to continue to advance society toward a sustainable path increased, along with my anger at the forces of the status quo. My house doesn’t really face the proper direction, but I still wondered if I could intall photovoltaics. I had bought another compact fluorescent bulb a few days ago. I installed it when I got home. The less power I use, the more renewable energy is available for others. That should be the primary motivation. But the other motivation is that it means less is purchased from status quo sources. And last night, that was just as satisfying.
As I calmed down, I read some blogs of other people. One in particular was outstanding. Cayla, the hydro Nazi. I slept well, knowing that this battle will be won.

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