Renewable energy and energy saving up-grades – Can America afford not to go Green?
America’s increasing dependence on foreign oil and the subsequent instability in many of the oil producing regions of the world has caused a great debate in this country in regards to moving the U.S. into the next generation of energy production and the continuation of efforts to conserve energy.
With increasing awareness by Americans of the threat of global warming and environmental damages caused by the use of fossil fuels. Many individuals in business and government, as well as average citizens are looking to renewable energy as the cure for the nation’s energy woes. But, for this type of change to occur the American people are going to have to make some lifestyle changes that will take time and effort to implement. Not the least of which is learning to conserve energy or as the catch phrase states ‘reducing our carbon footprint’.
We can start to accomplish this by Americans learning to recycle and re-purpose. I live in a community where there has been a recycling program in place for close to twenty years. Unfortunately, only about 10 to 15% to the people in this city do even a partial effort to recycle their waste. Citizens of this country need to make this effort a patriotic and moral imperative. Not unlike the drive we had during WWII where we ‘knew’ we were struggling for our survival. The tough part about this war is that the enemy we are fighting is not an external one but within ourselves. The enemies we are at war with are fear of change, apathy, greed and ignorance.
It’s just easier to throw that can or bottle in the garbage than to separate it into a recycling bin. It’s ‘normal’ for people to take the word of corporate sponsored rhetoric on TV, radio and the internet than to actually get educated on the real threat to themselves and all living things on this planet due to our actions or lack of it. It’s ‘manly’ to go along with ‘the guys’ when they say anybody who recycles or takes measures to protect the environment like drive a small car or hybrid instead of a gas guzzling SUV or pick-up truck, is just a ‘tree-hugger’ Oh, oops I just forgot to turn off that light or computer before I went to school or work. You wouldn’t dare treat your own mother the way you have treated Mother Nature your whole life. Harsh words? Yes, I’m sorry for that, but it needed to be said, and a lot more, if we as a nation are going to win this war with ourselves.
Somewhere along the way this whole situation of energy use and conservation has become a political one and that makes people uncomfortable to talk about it. But it needs to become as everyday as talking about the weather (the two are closely related anyway). Every culture and civilization that has learned to live in harmony with the Earth has survived, those that don’t disappear.
I love this country, its people and the precepts it was founded on. One of the greatest of those precepts is freedom. But, freedom must be wielded responsibly, as our fore fathers said about freedom of speech “Free speech as long as you don’t shout ‘FIRE’ in a crowded theater”. To me this means we are free to do as we please within the confines of not infringing on the safety and right to live of others. The problem is that in many cases that is what we do, we infringe, when we, in a wonton manner squander the World’s resources.
Many say that America can’t afford to reduce it’s dependence on foreign oil and coal for example. That the bottom line is that it is ‘just so much cheaper to produce electricity from coal’ and they are right if you look at just the dollar to dollar ratio per kilowatt produced. But, if we look at the REAL COSTS of the oil and coal use we need to include things like the costs of global warming (how can one put a price on that), the costs of air and water pollution (look at the costs of just two of these issues oil spills and gas fraking), the destruction of forests from mountain top removal and the resulting mud slides, farm and ranch land degradation. Let’s not forget the toll on the public health like the huge increase in medical costs, lives lost and also loss of productivity due to illness. Military action to protect oil and gas production outside of our borders must be taken into account as well. OK, so it ‘costs too much’, get over it, that’s just more corporate sponsored rhetoric.
What we as a people need to realize is America is going broke. How much longer can we keep spending money on foreign goods and oil before we run out of money. Paper with nothing backing it is just paper. One way we can slow or stop that from happening is to start producing our own energy (and goods) there is plenty of wind and sun let’s start using it as much as we can. We don’t need to cover the entire States of California, Nevada, and Arizona with solar arrays and all the plains states with wind turbines. Look at Germany roughly 80% of the homes in that Country have solar panels installed right on them. If we stop giving huge tax breaks to coal and oil companies (they don’t need them) and cut out all cash and land grants to them. We will have even more money available for renewable energy incentives and low and no interest loans.
You may ask yourself, “but I’m just one person how can I change the system?” Easy, make an effort, you will be amazed at how far a little effort will go. Just reading this blog is a good start. Contact your congress-person, if your not sure how, just put in a search for who represents your area. If that is confusing you can join (over the net through email, Facebook, twitter, etc) groups that are pushing to get changes made. Some of them are: the Sierra Club (not the Demons they are painted up to be by the corporate sponsored conservative media) , the Union of Concerned Scientists, the EDF, ASES, and SolarPro just to name a few. These groups educate us, the citizens and offer simple online methods to contact the people who make decisions. It’s quick, easy, very effective and free (though donations are always accepted) remember too, that we hired these people in the government to represent US so let’s make sure that is what they are doing.
I hope you feel as good after reading this as I feel talking about it. I hope to hear back from those of you who have taken the time to read this blog. No, I don’t expect anybody or everybody to agree with me. But, this is America and that’s what makes it great, we can agree or agree to disagree.