Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Smug Alert!

Earth Day 2008.

Buy some solar panels and plug them in. It isn't really that complicated once you have it installed. I put up my meager 4 panels 12 years ago. I have a 1500 watt inverter, a charge controller, a little doohickey that I have forgotten what it's called (it reads my battery charge and lets me know when to charge with the generator.)
For the most part I have almost totally forgotten how it works. It maintains itself except for the charging with the generator and the battery maintenance. (I bought a more efficient diesel last year. I am never going back to gas. And I have changed the batteries 2 times.)

The main reason I am doing this is to not have a power bill, and that there aren't transmission line nearby. But now with H.E.A. pushing to fire up coal plants so they can energize the Pebble Mine, I don't want any part of that.

To be honest I am not sure how green all this is with the initial energy needed to produce the panels, the equipment and the batteries. And I do have to run a generator 6 months a year. But it makes me acutely aware of every amp I use (my family would say overbearing about every amp they use.) Before buying any electronic device I turn around and look at the power specs on the back prior to buying. (I made an exception for the kids Xbox, those thing are energy PIGS.) I try to buy efficiency and stuff that has a trickle charge to maintain setting, like most TV and radios, is out or a least unplugged when not being used. (In Europe, they have regulated out these little energy draws .)

I think that people living on the grid can easily be "greener" than what I am doing off the grid. I believe the environment will be "saved" not from small things we do individually,but the big changes that have to be made systemically. We can feel smug that we are reducing our impact, but really we have to put people in charge who see aren't placating us. I see movement to change things, but no real effort on the part of people in power.

I heard a commentator the other day talking about the credit and housing crisis and how back during the Depression, FDR would have Fireside Chats and explain to the American people what was wrong with the economy and how they were going to fix it. Now we get platitudes and denial. We need leadership. We need to immediately get the Republicans out of the White House. I miss President Gore.

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