It is getting hard to ignore the signs of our changing climate. Extreme weather events are in the headlines nearly every day. Drought, floods, heat waves, extreme winter storms and rising seas are all symptoms of our planet adjusting to the change in the atmosphere. Science has determined why this is occurring and how a single species is changing an entire planet. Since this is still a relatively new scenario, they are just starting to get a handle on what our future will bring. Our world will prevail. It just may look a little different than it does now. Frankly, I would prefer it remains pretty much as it has since I arrived many years ago.
The climate is reacting to the continuous addition of greenhouse gasses generated primarily from burning the carbon deposits that have been safely stored under the earth’s surface for millions of years.
We have built our entire culture around burning carbon based fuel. Even today nearly all of our cars are fueled with petroleum (thank you to hybrid and e-car drivers!) but the single largest source of emissions is from electrical energy productions.
Some countries are doing a fine job of moving away from carbon based energy. Nordic counties in particular are in the lead, with Iceland now at 100% electric generation from renewable energy. The United States still relies on burning coal and natural gas for the largest share of energy. Nuclear energy plays a part, but we have not figured out how to make it truly safe or what to do with the extremely hazardous waste. Hydro is clean, but we are discovering the problems created by interrupting the natural flow of rivers. Wind is clean, but many of us (and birds) do not want giant turbines invading the landscape. Solar is a factor, but is still an extremely small percentage of our available energy.
It seems that if we are to continue a culture based on electric power, solar needs to play a bigger part. We do not necessarily need giant solar farms in undeveloped and pristine areas with a new grid infrastructure to support it. We all live under roofs that can easily hold the panels needed to produce our power. Think about generating your own electrical power. Once the system is paid for, you have a free and totally clean energy source. If all of us did this, think about how this would change our energy infrastructure. Think about how this would reduce the amount of greenhouse gas being generated.
Even those driving electric and plug in hybrid cars could charge them using a totally clean energy source!
Solar is not cheap but the price is coming down. There are federal tax credits, utility credits, state credits (sorry, not much from the sunshine state) and PACE financing available. Progress from elected officials will be much to slow to help change our energy polices in time to mediate our changing climate.
Maybe it is time to do this ourselves.
Localecopia is a nonprofit organization based in Palm Beach, Florida focused upon bringing businesses, producers, educators and government organizations together for the purpose of lessening our carbon footprint by supporting local product consumption, helping operations better utilize waste and bringing together individuals to help achieve sustainable business practices. For information about Localecopia, please visit www.localecopia.org.