Monday, April 9, 2012

Film Review: Windfall

Paul Anderson

Director/Producer Laura Israel’s documentary film Windfall is based in the town of Meredith in upstate New York, and she does an excellent job at showing how “solutions” were offered to the hard working, well intentioned residents who needed money, or had fears of losing a dairy farm and/or a way of life, all of which were advantageous, to say the least, for shrewd prospecting wind developers.

Windfall explores how effective the techniques of contractual control and secrecy through non-disclosure agreements can destroy a community. In this particular case, AIRTRICITY, an Ireland based company, approached the town’s people to gain land leases for turbines to be installed in elevated regions of the town. The agreements between AIRTRICITY and the land owners/neighbors brought about a divide and ensured that there was no solidarity among the people who needed it most – the land owners. The results were disastrous. Unlike the poor in urban areas, the people in Windfall are land owners and moderately successful, so the mechanisms of manipulation necessitated a different tactic. The fears invoked by a potential lawsuit prevented residents from banning together to achieve the greater good for all involved as they soon found that the leases offered were merely years of inferior solutions to going green.

Windfall is a testament to how an industry can take green technology that is beneficial for society at large (i.e. alternatively fueled cars) and subvert it into another cynical shakedown of hope for the future.

I, after watching Windfall, felt the urge to get involved in some way to help expose this ongoing ruse to distract the public from viable solutions for tomorrow that are not shrouded in subterfuge. Strong communities will continue to face challenges from those who wish to benefit from the weakest parts of a divided society. It’s a great film, and one that is insightful, alarming, and very capable of moving the masses to demand what we deserve – a path to a truly green environment. Every American’s clock should go off to this wake up call, and we should hold the parties in power responsible for a cleaner, safer, more viable environment. 

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