Wind turbines symbolise the green revolution
Wind turbines have become the iconic symbol of a rising tide of environmental awareness over recent decades. Tall towers of grey steel topped by three slender blades dot not just the countryside and increasingly the sea, but they also appear on a whole range of literature from information leaflets on local environmental movements to the billboards of energy giants displaying the fact that they have adopted environmentally friendly power.
There are a few surprises. Take Belgium’s latest stamp design - a light green background superimposed with an eye-catching dark green turbine, by Belgian designer Clotilde Olyff. Turbines have decorated stamps in Denmark and Canada too. Or, beauty product company Aveda who in 2008 produced a series of advertisements showing models with windswept hair standing in a field of turbines. The caption read, “first beauty company manufacturing with 100% wind power: Beauty is as beauty does.”
Turbines have become a symbol for progress in poorer countries. In an invitation to the launch of the United Nations Population Fund report, ‘State of world population 2009, facing a changing world: women, population and climate,’ the UNFPA used a picture of a woman carrying firewood on her head walking towards a wind farm set in a dusty, red soil.
Some adverts are even more inventive than straight-forward photos of turbines. The National Trust in the UK displayed its alliance with green energy provider npower with a hand-sketched turbine decorated with underwater vines growing up it and shells and sea-snails at its base. Vattenfall asked readers of the Financial Times to sign a climate manifesto calling for political action on carbon cutting illustrating its request with a sketch of a turbine composed of hundreds of signatures. In 2008, Vestas sponsored the European weather section in the Financial Times with a map of Europe covered in isobars, suns, clouds, temperatures and a turbine in the sea off the west coast of Ireland.
Even banks use wind turbines in their advertising: Société Générale said they support green energy: “with green business, we stand by you to open up new economic horizons,” the advert says with a picture of two men discussing business, miniature turbines on the table in front of them. The co-operative bank claimed in an advert: “We believe it’s our responsibility to ensure our carbon footprint isn’t of Yeti-like proportions. So we’ve taken a big step for a retailer and had a wind farm built on our land.”
Belgium’s francophone region, Wallonia, uses bright white wind turbines to decorate its business portal. Meanwhile, UK four-by-four manufacturer, Land Rover, shows a windswept field with a wind turbine powered factory. “For the last 60 years our vehicles have worked on farms. Now one of the engine plants is powered by one,” it says. Alter’Eco-Logis, a small company near Strasbourg specialising in natural ways to insulate, paint and varnish houses, uses a wind turbine in its logo to display its green credentials.
While it’s no surprise that the big green power generating companies use turbines in their advertising, their slogans show a mix of the nature-inspired to the modernity-driven. In adverts the Cez Group says “all power springs from nature”, Vestas says “Wind is modern energy”, and in a separate advert “the wind is picking up”, and Accerlor Mittal says “wind + boldness = Watts. Boldness is about working with nature...so it can work for us”. Adding a more technical perspective, ABB shows turbines installed on a spit and asks: “Connect emission-free power to the grid? Naturally”.
Wind it seems is also the subject of dreams. With a picture of a girl testing out the wind direction, energy company Suzlon says: “there’s enough potential in wind energy to power every dream. Why should your career be an exception?” At EWEA, we couldn’t agree more.