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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 684; doi:10.3390/ijerph13070684

Ontario’s Experience of Wind Energy Development as Seen through the Lens of Human Health and Environmental Justice

Department of Geography, Social Science Centre, Western University, London, ON N6A5C2, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jayajit Chakraborty, Sara E. Grineski and Timothy W. Collins
Received: 10 May 2016 / Revised: 24 June 2016 / Accepted: 28 June 2016 / Published: 6 July 2016
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Abstract

The province of Ontario has shown great commitment towards the development of renewable energy and, specifically, wind power. Fuelled by the Green Energy Act (GEA) of 2009, the Province has emerged as Canada’s leader in wind energy development (WED). Nonetheless, Ontario’s WED trajectory is characterized by social conflicts, particularly around environmental health. Utilizing the Social Amplification of Risk Framework, this paper presents an eight-year longitudinal media content analysis conducted to understand the role Ontario’s media may be playing in both reflecting and shaping public perceptions of wind turbine health risks. We find that before and after the GEA, instances of health risk amplification were far greater than attenuations in both quantity and quality. Discourses that amplified turbine health risks often simultaneously highlighted injustices in the WED process, especially after the GEA. Based on these findings, we suggest that Ontario’s media may be amplifying perceptions of wind turbine health risks within the public domain. We conclude with policy recommendations around public engagement for more just WED. View Full-Text
Keywords: wind energy; health risk; environmental justice; Ontario; newspapers wind energy; health risk; environmental justice; Ontario; newspapers
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Songsore, E.; Buzzelli, M. Ontario’s Experience of Wind Energy Development as Seen through the Lens of Human Health and Environmental Justice. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 684.

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