As summer approaches, people are getting out their sunscreen and bathing suits in anticipation of the 2023 beach season. They might however be in for a surprise if they find themselves tanning right next to a 20-foot washed up whale.
As of May 19, seventeen whales and many dolphins have been found washed up along the East Coast. While this is not that unusual for our area, the increase in frequency certainly is. There are many theories behind these beachings such as boat strikes, disease, and lack of food. There is however a new theory that is getting a lot of attention in the press, wind turbines. Currently, scientists are trying to install 174 wind turbines, 14-miles off of Jones Beach.
Many people are fans of wind turbines as it provides electricity without burning any fuel or polluting the air. However, scientists are speculating that the noise and sonar used to map out the ocean floor to determine turbine wind placement is creating havoc on the whales ability to navigate and even is negatively adversely affecting their health. IFL Science claims “sonar distresses beaked whales to the extent that they end up with nitrogen bubbles in their blood. This can cause hemorrhaging and damage to their vital organs.” Wind turbine advocates seem to be so caught up in installing the wind turbines, that they are in denial of identifying the real cause for the washed up whales. Time Magazine shares that “One specific claim made by some anti-wind advocates is that scientists are refusing to examine the dead whales’ inner ears, which they say could show lesions indicating damage from sonar systems used by offshore wind mapping crews.”
While the proof is not conclusive, at the very least we should take a pause in this project and investigate this matter further. While we should all support clean energy projects, it should not be at the expense of the abundant sea life that makes up our oceans.
Eden Goldberg is a sophomore at John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore.