Solar power is more and more relevant these days. The summer heat reminds us that, every day, the earth receives about 23,000 “quads” of Btu energy. (A “quad Btu” refers to one quadrillion British Thermal Units of energy). If that number seems hard to grasp, simply consider that the annual solar energy hitting the earth exceeds the total energy consumed by humanity by a factor of over 20,000 times. Check out the math here.
And if you’re paying attention to the disaster occurring in the gulf (lets be honest, who can avoid thinking about it) then it’s gotta have you thinking… isn’t there a better way? The answer isn’t new: to avoid these kinds of environmental disasters, we have to reduce our energy consumption, and get our energy from renewable source.
“OUR CHALLENGE is to create something unprecedented in human history: an ecologically sustainable civilization that offers a high standard of living widely shared among its citizens, a civilization that does not maintain itself through more-or-less hidden subsidies from antique solar income, or from the unsustainable exploitation of ecosystems and peoples held in slavery or penury, domestically or in remote regions of the globe. The world has never known such a civilization. Most hunting-and-gathering tribes achieved a sustainable balance with their environments…but we can’t say that any of them achieved a high standard of material well-being. Medieval western Europe lived in balance with its soil community, achieving a form of sustainable agriculture that lasted until the invention of coal- and steam-propelled agriculture a few centuries ago, but few of us would trade the comforts and freedoms we enjoy today for life as a serf on a baronial estate, or even for the pre-electricity, pre-petroleum life of a mid-nineteenth-century farmer.
NO, THERE IS NO PRECEDENT for what we are struggling to create. We have to make it up ourselves.”
Solar energy is one part of addressing the puzzle that we are faced with every day. Environmentalism can no longer be just a moral issue. It must be seen as an issue that relates to every other issue on our planet.
Check out Nipton, CA for an example of one town that has taken on the Solar challenge- according to Grist, Nipton has installed enough solar to support 85% of the towns energy usage.
We’ve got at least 3 more hours of daylight to enjoy today in New Orleans. Hope that you are all enjoying this longest day, and letting that bright sunshine inspire you to get on the solar bandwagon.