Letters / An emotive subject

Please allow me to respond to both letters from Helen Erwood on your website: Not enough facts (SN 6.5.12) and Coffee table science (SN 25.6.12).

In both she accuses opponents of the proposed Viking Energy wind farm of being “emotive” or referring to “emotive” research.

I believe that all human beings have emotions, and the wind farm is, after all, an emotive subject. The public debate has given supporters and opponents alike the opportunity to express their feelings in the local media, in a society where the expression of certain emotions in public is still discouraged and/or frowned upon.


I consider this a positive aspect and one, by all accounts, Helen has also benefitted from, as I detect anger, frustration, impatience and resentment in her contributions.

The proposed wind farm has already had a significant negative psychological impact on those members of the Shetland community faced with having to live within close – some far too close – proximity to the 145m high turbines, and all those who care deeply about Shetland’s pristine environment, wildlife and landscape, and the health, happiness and wellbeing of others.

The human psyche is difficult to ‘quantify’; that’s why we rely on qualitative, rather than quantitative research.

However much Helen tries to convince Shetland News readers that qualitative research is inferior to quantitative research, this is not the case; it is simply different, and to date the best tool we have available in our attempts to measure, interpret and understand human emotion.

Rosa Steppanova