The windmill effect:
The windmill effect
In the scale of life, the shorter the life span of a species, the quicker the species adapts to change. The lowly midge, a small, often thought of as an insignificant and annoying creature soon adapts to the destruction of large areas of peat bog.
Not long after the machines and the diet of human blood have gone, these small insects quickly go about adapting to this new ecology. The large concrete block that once was visible, now covered with new growth of plant life, that start to thrive in their new habitat. Artificial heat percolates upward from the constant, unheard, unseen pulsation of electricity that now flows through the copper artificial veins, buried below. A heat that provides a welcome elongated season and perfect breeding ground for the midge and other small insects.
With the harsh Scottish winter in early 2010 reducing its natural predators, such as bats and birds and the natural retention of small water pocket caused by the heavy machinery’s compression of the soil, the provision of the ultimate, new manmade ecology is complete. The population of the midge starts to grow exponentially.
The unnatural colour of the steel mast has an equally unnatural attraction to the growing numbers as clouds of midges enjoy the early evening radiated heat from this giant storage heater, collected from the day’s sun. The midge searches for its mate as it rises higher and higher up the mast and into the turbulent air of the silently upward movement of the huge blades. Some, caught in the thud of the opposite blade, forced downward against the natural flow of air are cast out, only to re-join the cloud at a lower level, or fall dead to the ground.
The abundance of food soon attracts the insectivores and detritivores. Within weeks the ground is teeming with more insects devouring the fallen midge. Spiders grow fat, breading rapidly in an attempt to take advantage of the feast. The dragon fly’s and ladybugs population increases, so too does the frogs. The ecosystem develops rapidly due to the unique adaption of the midge to the power producing wind turbine.
Attracted by the development of this new food source, larger insectivores and carnivores join the cycle. Swallows, swifts dart back and forth collecting food for their young. Other small birds pick from the large menu of insects that now occupy the foliage below the towering turbine.
Bats play on the evening breeze, flying swiftly, preoccupied by the food are unaware of the invisible rotating blades. The sound of the downward blades give warning of the impending danger, but the silent upward blades, prove, for some, impossible to navigate.
Even the agile swallows and swifts are no match for the silent half of the blades. Once caught, the victims, usually severely injured fall helplessly to the ground.
Crows and seagulls flock to the table, fighting over the carcases often fall foul themselves as the take their fight into the air, more interested in retaining the morsel of food, than the deadly blade.
Eagles, Buzzards, Sparrow hawks and other birds of prey also join the feast, more interested in the food, than the unknown dangers.
Safe on the ground the foxes, cats, weasels, even badgers, enjoy the free food on offer. It may take a few years, but these longer living mammals will quickly adapt with a new growth in population.
By morning, the dull hum of the turbine and the incessant monotone drum of the downward blades continue as it towers over the feeding ground below. A feeding ground that has been cleared of evidence, bar a few feathers; ready for the new day.
With each new turbine, a new mini ecosystem evolves; an ecosystem that changes the existing natural cycle. As the years move on, the natural predators of the ground become accustomed to the easy food source. The scavengers, such as rats and mice are allowed to clean the tables below the turbines unhindered. Rabbits, no longer hunted become prevalent. And the giants continue to multiply.
The countryside is now littered with wind turbines, but the ecosystem is failing. The midge and other insects thrive, more so now that all the birds and bats have gone, but for the foxes, cat’s weasels and badgers, the banquet is over. Now, no longer accustomed to hunting, they must evolve once more, or become extinct.
Stronger pesticides are constantly spayed over the crops; new and old diseases become wide spread thought out the human race, carried by the ever increasing insect population. Other diseases are carried into heavily populated areas as the animals and rats look for food and a new habitat. Large areas of land are poisoned in an attempt to ride the world of the huge rabbit colonies.
It is now 2051, and unlike the insect population, who adapt to their surroundings, we, the human race have adapted our surroundings to suit us. The earth has evolved into a harsh environment. We live in huge oxygen enriched glass domes and eat manufacture foods. The human population has reduced dramatically and now strictly controlled.
We have finally managed to recycle everything, we have to; it is too dangerous to go outside to obtain any other resources.
The fields of turbines, now dormant, still litter the surrounding area and the insects still continue to adapt. Some have grown to an enormous size, others, like the midge still manage to thrive; how? We dare not imagine.
As a child, I remember the sound of the birds, the feel of green grass beneath my feet, the sweet smell of flowers and the glimpse of a deer or rabbit. Now I sit in a manmade dome, watching the manmade machines tend to the manmade garden of fake plants. I listen to the latest composition of synthetic birds song and barking dogs. I sniff the manufactured scents they call the smell of nature. And I dream of my childhood, and wonder… could we have prevented this?