Before I throw this first post of the new year into top gear, I just want to mention on the side that this isn’t going to be entirely focused on the topic of birds v wind turbines, although of course some of it will, as I’d like to use this opportunity whilst on the subject of context in science, to have a brief but hopefully interesting little poke around in it.
I’m sure many of you have read, or at least heard the debate raging between those who perceive wind turbines to be nothing more than trumped-up avian grinders, doing everything in their power to churn up as many feathered friends of the Earth as they can, or those who, and I’d like to say, with some rationality and understanding of the wider science, believe this to be some seriously outspoken hot air.
The reason I’m choosing to revisit this lovely little topic of conversation is due to a recent article posted in the not-so-environmentally-friendly 'Spectator', a well-known paper leaning on the Conservative side of the spectrum, and one which has sparked many angry rebuttals and responses in its time. This one, as I’m sure you can guess already, was aiming to yet again derail our well-earned trust and faith in wind farms worldwide, through the examining of some questionably outdated data on bird and bat deaths in Spain, Germany, Europe and elsewhere, written by what we should rightly assume to be a well-educated and reputable character, Clive Hambler, an Oxford lecturer and graduate in zoology. Seems legit right? Hmmm.
While I do not for one minute want to use this blog as a way to bash this man’s credentials and career, I do want to highlight just one of the biggest issues I, and as you can read in these articles, many others have with his piece; and boy is it a biggy. He’s missing a whole lot of context.