When each building is generating its own clean power with geothermal and solar energy, shared on a smart grid, power will be in the hands of us producers and users. We’ll then be able to thumb our noses at Big Oil and its current grip over our economy and government.
Talk about creating jobs! Instead of working at digging a short-term polluting pipeline, a laborer can earn more by learning to install geothermal heating and cooling systems, and have work available for years to come. Rather than smashing shale with toxic chemicals to extract the last gasp of gas, a worker can reskill toward building a long-term clean energy future with insulation and solar installation.
Builders who put these technologies together in the new, tight building techniques will have work throughout the century. Wind farms are springing up all around us, and they need operators and repair personnel. Classes are available here at Heartland Community College’s Green Institute. Unions, educate your members.
Banks and Credit Unions, help homeowners and businesses with low-interest loans so they can invest in their buildings for a free-energy future. That’s right, free. After installation is paid for, the natural energy generated is free. Meanwhile, the cost of power from fossil fuels will continue to climb.
Your neighbors who don’t insulate and move to green power are projected to pay double the energy costs by the end of this decade (2020) and triple by the end of the next. Nobody knows exactly when we’ll run out of fossil fuels altogether.
Every parking lot offers a perfect place for a solar emplacement, which can power the adjacent store, school, church or factory as well as power the electric vehicles under it. The post-carbon era does not have to mean travel by ox-cart and reading by candle light. We know how to capture the natural renewable energies of the sun, earth, wind and water. The sooner we move toward using what we know, the less need to continue polluting the earth and changing the climate.
What are we waiting for? Government leadership? Current legislative gridlock is not going to improve under the present system of funding our elections. By its very nature, a republic only responds to the will of those who elect its legislators.
Only in an emergency will a democratic government take the reins and retool from the top down, as we did in WWII. And some of us, and our representatives, can’t even agree that climate change constitutes an emergency.
Let’s step up to the plate and do it ourselves. We Americans have always been a can-do people, ingenious and innovative. Nothing is stopping us. Many places in Europe are already retooling for the clean-energy future, enjoying its benefits right now. We can learn from their experience and avoid mistakes.
If you think it isn’t yet possible to create a better, more wholesome world, please read Jeremy Rifkin’s latest book The Third Industrial Revolution. (Don’t be put off by the title, as I almost was. Even Rifkin agonized about turning people away with the dirty word Industrial.) This book is inspiring, energizing, and hopeful. It lays out the why and how to a beautiful future for humankind and all living beings — if we get to work on it right away.