E360 Video Contest Award Winner – First Place
Bitter Wind: A Town Divided Over
A Controversial Maine Wind Farm
The proposal seemed straightforward: Erect 16 wind turbines on hilltops in rural Maine and generate enough electricity to power 25,000 homes and enough tax revenue to help a struggling local government in a depressed region. But the 450-foot turbines of the Bowers Wind farm would be seen from miles away in the picturesque
Grand Lake Stream area, and objections to their presence set up a conflict that pitted neighbor against neighbor.
In this nine-minute video, winner of the 2015 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, videographer Roger Smith presents the viewpoints of the local proponents and opponents of the $100 million project. Those in favor see a revenue-generating, job-producing, green-energy boon for the region, with minimal environmental impact. Those opposed — including owners of the fishing, hunting, and tourist camps — see an eyesore that would mar Grand Lake Stream’s scenic vistas and drive away visitors.
Soon enough, class divisions emerge, with some locals who support the project saying that the camp operators and owners of vacation homes were edging out longtime residents. “We’re in a different class from them — they got money and a big camp on the lake,” says Travis Worster. “We’re just the people that used to live here.”
Watch the video
08 September 2015
About the contest: “Battle Over Bowers Wind” is the winner of the 2015 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest. Entries were received from six continents, with a prize of $2,000 going to the first-place winner. Below are the other winning videos.
Watch the first runner-up, “Alaska Salmon Program”
Watch the second runner-up, “Ndzou Camp”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
In 2014, while at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, Roger Smith
investigated the reality of New England’s clean energy transition and what is at stake for local communities. This brought him to rural Maine in the dead of winter to film “Battle Over Bowers Wind.” He also worked on climate and clean energy legislation as the co-director of Clean Water Action’s Connecticut office. Smith recently relocated to Japan and is documenting towns' efforts to incorporate clean energy into their post-Fukushima recoveries.
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An Up-Close View of Bristol Bay’s
Astonishing Sockeye Salmon Runs
The first runner-up in the 2015 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest captures stunning images of the abundant sockeye salmon runs in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and tells the story of a 70-year-old project that has been studying the millions of salmon that annually pour into the region’s rivers to spawn.
How One African Village Learned
To Live with Its Wildlife and Prosper
The second runner-up in the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest tells the story of the residents of a forest village in central Mozambique who have helped create a tourist destination centered on an elephant population that once wreaked havoc in their community.
Badru’s Story: Inside
Africa’s Impenetrable Forest
“Badru’s Story,” which documents the work of researchers in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, is the first-place winner of the 2014 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest. Filmmakers Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele trek along with scientist Badru Mugerwa and his team as they monitor the impact of climate change on one of Africa’s most diverse forests and its extraordinary wildlife.
A Red Dirt Town: A Legacy
Of Toxic Water Pollution
The second-place winner of the 2014 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest examines the legacy of pollution in Anniston, Alabama, the former home of a Monsanto chemical factory. The video tells the story of how PCBs from the Monsanto plant contaminated the town’s waterways and continue to taint the fish that are popular with local anglers.
Peak to Peak: An Intimate Look at
The Bighorn Sheep of the Rockies
The third-place winner of the 2014 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest focuses on a herd of bighorn sheep in Montana and features remarkable scenes of lambs as they gambol along the slopes of the northern Rockies. Produced by Jeremy Roberts, the video follows a field biologist as he monitors the sheep and talks about the possible impact of climate change on the animals’ future.
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