Vermont, where is Christmas? In this time of hope and cheer, compassion and caring I constantly see in my mind a tortured family in a humble home deep in the woods of Sheffield, a rural setting, normally conducive to peaceful living. I can’t get this family out of my mind for the simple reason that I visited them recently and saw their suffering. I had never met them before this visit.
These people suffer from the maddening effects of two types of sound and of not knowing when or how long the continuous jet-like sound or the sound of a constant and perfectly timed beat of whump-whump-whump will penetrate their house hour after hour and day into night and into day again. These sounds are caused by wind turbines several hundred yards away from this family’s home.
This family doesn’t sleep when the noise comes. When the 3-year-old was asked about turbines, he pressed his little hands tight to his ears with a sad expression on his face, not a play-acting grimace or grin. His unsmiling 1-year-old sister walked wobbly with outstretched arms to her mother, thinking that Mommy solves all problems. Except Mommy can’t solve this one. The mother herself has been prescribed pills to help her deal with these life-stifling sounds.
Where is Vermont’s cloak of compassion for this family? Where are its protective leaders, its heralding press, its concerned sympathetic citizens? This forsaken family hears only the maddening noise through the trees.
The hypocrisy here is that this family, living frugally and off-grid, have a very small carbon footprint compared to Vermont’s leaders who are themselves living high energy-consuming consumerist lifestyles and jet-set about the country and the world while insisting that this poor family just suck it up and take the noise for the good of world carbon control.
With this attitude, one might ask, are there no pills this family can take to dull their senses? Are there no poorhouses for them after they have abandoned their own?
Vermont’s press should be constantly shining the bright light of shame on these hypocritical leaders whose personal carbon footprints would sink the world if every individual on this earth had the same footprints they do. Also, the press should be exposing the cold-heartedness of the many Vermont citizens who insist that turbine noise is not a problem but who themselves have every excuse for why they personally won’t actually move to live next to one of them.
No, Vermont, there is no Christmas here. Our politicians, our press, and our people are too cold and heartless to call for compassionate compensation for this poor and dear family so that they can afford to move elsewhere and start to live again.
History down through the ages has taught that no governmental program or policy is everlasting which disregards the welfare of the powerless, the poor, and the disadvantaged. The latest international climate change talks have broken down because the rich won’t pay attention to the poor.
Vermonters, this Christmas Eve when your children or grandchildren are falling asleep in their beds while dreaming of the pitter-patter of reindeer hoofs on their roofs, the aforementioned 1-year-old and 3-year-old may be experiencing the nightmare once again of being wide awake during the night, listening to the incessant whump-whump-whump of the turbines coming through the walls and roof of their bedroom. Will you Vermonters be thinking of them that special night?
Justin Lindholm is a resident of Mendon.MORE IN Perspective
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