Dr Laurie has spent 5 years doing voluntary work to help windfarm victims, and others impacted by other sources of industrial noise in rural Australia, where she lives with her family. Also, as CEO of the Waubra Foundation, she has been promoting research into the effects of infrasound, low-frequency noise, and vibrations emitted by wind turbines and other sources. She is recognised worldwide as a leading expert in the harm done by wind turbines to people, and has been invited to testify in numerous parliamentary inquiries, courts and tribunals on various continents.
As a result of her hard work, generous heart, and uncompromised professional dedication, she enjoys the highest respect among the people who, around the world, do voluntary work to help the victims of wind turbines. But her very success in further raising the profile of the issue of infasound and low-frequency noise (ILFN) emitted by wind turbines has created her many enemies, among those making a living from the wind power business and related activists.
One of them was an Australian employee of Danish wind turbine manufacturer VESTAS, Ken McAlpine, author in March 2014 of a defamatory tweet which wrongly implied that Dr Laurie was no longer a doctor as a result of some professional misconduct causing her to be “deregistered”. He is not alone – Canadian based IBM employee Mike Barnard authored a document, published by the Energy and Policy Institute in 2014, which defames a number of health and acoustics experts, including Dr Laurie.
Simon Chapman, a sociologist, Professor of Public Health (sic) at the University of Sydney, is also on the list. He has been ridiculing and denigrating those suffering ill-health and exhaustion from the vicinity of wind turbines, and personally attacking doctors and acoustics professionals for over five years. Chapman was one of a number of people who retweeted the defamatory words of McAlpine. Others involved included a journalist from Fairfax Media, and an employee of Infigen Energy (formerly Babcock and Brown), owner and operator of wind power developments in Australia and the USA.
Chapman has been trying to discredit Dr Laurie and her work for years, thus helping the wind industry to keep selling their unsafe products. Time and again he denied the known adverse health effects of noise and infrasound emitted by wind turbines, and tried to destroy the reputations of those professionals who are sounding the alarm. Chapman has been the main proponent of the grotesque accusation that Dr Laurie is herself making people sick by speaking out about the health problems caused by wind turbines and by advocating for research and safer regulations (i.e. an alleged “nocebo effect” caused by “scaremongering”).
But the tables have turned. Dr Laurie has been vindicated. First by the Australian Senate. In its report issued on 3rd August 2015, at the end of the enquiry about wind farms, we find this:
“2.21 The committee highlights the fact that Professor Chapman is not a qualified, registered nor experienced medical practitioner, psychiatrist, psychologist, acoustician, audiologist, physicist or engineer. Accordingly:
- he has not medically assessed a single person suffering adverse health impacts from wind turbines;
- his research work has been mainly—and perhaps solely—from an academic perspective without field studies;
- his views have been heavily criticised by several independent medical and acoustic experts in the international community;
- and many of his assertions do not withstand fact check analyses.”
This is followed by a number of paragraphs where Chapman’s allegations are rebutted one by one:
Read more: Senate’s Select Committee on Wind Turbines
Senator Madigan commented: “(Chapman) is a person who is not lawfully permitted to conduct any form of medical research or study in relation to human health”.
And: “(his) undergraduate qualifications were in sociology and his PhD looked into the relationship between cigarette smoke and advertising”. *Click here for more*
Exposed by the Senate, the professor of public health is now in the hot seat. He had to make a public apology. First by a tweet which said: “I sincerely apologise to Sarah Laurie for retweeting the false statement that she was deregistered and not a doctor.”
Then by letter: “I sincerely apologise to Sarah Laurie for the harm, embarrassment and distress caused by my allegations, which I unreservedly retract.”
Read more: Simon Chapman apologizes to Dr Sarah Laurie
His apology, however, was less than gentlemanly: he chose not to address the victim of his smears as “Dr Laurie”. Yet, as pointed out by Graham Lloyd’s recent article in the Australian, Dr Laurie IS a medical doctor, even if she has offered not to use the title for her work with the Waubra Foundation. Otherwise patients would be calling for appointments.
Simon Chapman, to say the least, is not an asset for the wind industry, nor for his employer – the University of Sydney, or for any of the organizations who have irresponsibly adopted his biased nocebo claims, such as the Public Health Association of Australia, and the Climate and Health Alliance.
The World Council for Nature takes this occasion to praise Dr Sarah Laurie for her outstanding work, her courage and her abnegation. Few people in the world today deserve to be honored as much as she does.