The Power of Wind and Water in Human Culture

  • Thursday, March 28, 2024
  • Thursday, May 02, 2024
  • 6 sessions
  • Thursday, March 28, 2024, 10:00 AM 12:00 PM (EDT)
  • Thursday, April 04, 2024, 10:00 AM 12:00 PM (EDT)
  • Thursday, April 11, 2024, 10:00 AM 12:00 PM (EDT)
  • Thursday, April 18, 2024, 10:00 AM 12:00 PM (EDT)
  • Thursday, April 25, 2024, 10:00 AM 12:00 PM (EDT)
  • Thursday, May 02, 2024, 10:00 AM 12:00 PM (EDT)
  • Belfast Free Library - Abbott Room
  • 33


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Windmills and water mills are perhaps the most iconic devices from the early days, and mills became fundamental parts of life and human culture. This course explores the many ways that people adapt to the Power of Wind and Water, as documented in art, stories, and inventions that helped form human culture for thousands of years.

At first, human culture used mills mostly for grinding grain. Then the power of wind and water were used to create mechanical solutions to pump water and to manufacture many products. The Dutch windmills and watermills are beautiful examples of how man adapts this power to abate flood and to minimize physical labor. Stories about the life of millers is sprinkled throughout English literature. Don Quixote imagined windmills as imaginary giants to be attacked. Japanese culture created particularly beautiful images of wind and water in its art and poetry. In the future, the wind may become one of the solutions humans will use to survive as we transform our economy from fossil fuel to wind powered generation of electricity.



Fred Bowers, Juliet Baker, and Gerald Brand will be the co-instructors for this course. Fred is a Naturalist and Forest Soils scientist. Juliet Baker is a literary expert who has shared her knowledge with us at Senior College many times over the past 15 years. Jerry Brand is an electrical engineer and wind sailor, and a member of the Belfast Climate and Harbor committees.

Photo credit: Jacob van Ruisdael, Windmill at the Edge of a Village, signed lower right, ca. 1646. Oil on panel, 47 × 63.5 cm (18½ × 25 in.). Private collection. Photo: Courtesy Douwes Fine Art

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