Growlers are detrimental

by Susan Shannon

Orcas Island

About 35 people attended an informational meeting in Eastsound on Nov. 14 presented by the Sound Defense Alliance, who updated us about the Growler issue.

Nearly all attendees reported being affected by the sound of the Growlers, some citing exacerbation of PTSD symptoms, physical disruptions such as visceral vibrations due to the low hum and sensitivity to the onslaught of electric and magnetic fields, but nearly all of us in a general anxiety about the constant rumble.

It is only going to get worse, according to expert presenters Larry Morrell and Rhea Miller. Step by step, they outlined the grim picture of what is ahead for us if we, as a people, don’t mobilize against it. A large part of Orcas is included in the area where the Growlers will be in a holding pattern until they can land, which will become more frequent as the flights increase. Bigger engines are being put into the existing Growlers; and a huge increase of flights has been approved.

Morrell and Miller presented a great deal of information regarding the health risks. This is not only an issue for the people who can hear them, this is also an issue for all forms of life above and below the sea in this region. The low sound frequency does its damage whether you can hear it or not.

The potential environmental loss is monumental. Imagine our islands without bees, frogs, eagles, deer, owls. Imagine our islands where even cows, sheep, horses and dogs suffer due to their even more sensitive nervous systems than ours. Imagine our islands where the beautiful trees continue to die not from logging or drought but from the unregulated bombardment of EMFs from the unregulated number of Growlers flying over. Imagine our islands without salmon or Orcas. They are already being affected, as the low rumble of the growlers occurs at an extremely low frequency, which has been measured up to 100 feet below the surface of our waters. Imagine our islands where one must wear earplugs or noise-canceling headphones while outside.

Right now, as you are reading this, people in Coupeville are forced into wearing earplugs or noise-canceling headphones INSIDE their own homes as the Growlers fly unregulated overhead.

Morrell and Miller presented hope as well. Regional groups have formed across the northwest and are working together to inform their local representatives of the problem. Veterans have come together to push for the return of quiet, peaceful skies. Our Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy over the proposed expansion of Growler jet activity.

We all need to act now, regardless of how many other causes you are involved with. This issue is so much more complex than simply the disruption of peace.

It is a violent threat to our entire environment. I hope everyone reading this will visit the Quiet Skies over San Juan County website at Watch the videos. Write postcards or letters, contact your officials and find ways you can to stand up to this assault, which is going to rob us of the lifestyle we need to continue to preserve.

To one man’s comment last night, “Who is the enemy here?” I say, can we as a community transcend that binary perspective? It is only us now — humans, feathered, fur, scales, leaves, etc. We’re all in this together.