Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Solar panels for peace! Wind mills for peace!

Reposting two comments I left on a Juice Media youtube video about #NoDAPL. In summary, I was replying one person was concerned about the affordability of going green, and another person concerned that the "liberals" would invade more countries in the Middle East. Edited for formatting, but you can go see the original conversations here if you like. I put this on Medium as well.

"A thousand-mile journey begins with a single step." -- Lao Tzu

It would seem that switching to green electricity -- wind, solar, etc. -- would come before worrying about the cars, as a matter of practicality. Switching to electric cars while the electricity is still made from fossil fuels and nuclear fission seems unlikely to accomplish much. (Please note that natural gas is indeed a fossil fuel and not green, in spite of being falsely marketed as such sometimes -- see Josh Fox's Gasland and Gasland 2 for details. That is, unless they are talking about gas from plant matter, but normally that is referred to as "biogas" to avoid confusion.) SolarCity, Sungevity, others, offer deals where where they front the cost of the solar panels and let you buy the electricity -- and the solar panels too, over time -- for more or less the price you are paying now (often less), and without the risk of the price increasing over time as it might with your electric utility. 

If you're a hands-on type person, and can afford a small up-front investment, it's also possible to make solar panels.

It's also possible you might get more bang for your buck installing a solar water heater before solar panels.

Micro wind might be a good option for some people.

If you don't own your roof, or if you can't install enough solar panels up there to cover your electric use, another option is to purchase green electricity via your utility, which generally doesn't cost that much more than your current prices. Conservation measures, even little things like unplugging appliances that are not in use, can help counteract that by bringing your prices down. If you live in the United States, there's a lot of information here, for Australians here, for those in the UK here, and an example of one Canadian green electricity provider here.

So far as your car goes, there aren't really any options for going green on that which are affordable to those who cannot afford a substantial up-front investment. Otherwise, the most you could probably do (without giving up your lifestyle) would be to buy solar or wind offsets from time to time, maybe just $40 or so at a time, and perhaps switch to walking or biking for short-distance trips. Buying offsets is also a good option for people who do not pay separately for their electricity, or whose utility does not offer an option to buy green electricity instead. Indeed, many of the programs through utilities are offsets anyway, unless they specifically say you are buying local green electricity. In the long run, fuel cell vehicles will probably be better than electric ones. In any case, Sterling Planet and the New England Wind Fund are two options in the United States for wind offsets.

Ultimately, though, the water protectors are not accountable to the affordability of electricity and gasoline, but rather, to their own well being, and to the well being of the millions of people who depends on that river for water. They need not willingly sacrifice the water supply for millions of people just so that some other people can have cheap electricity and gasoline.

If you want to avoid wars for oil and other fossil fuels everywhere, against Middle Eastern countries, against indigenous nations here on Turtle Island (what you call North America), and against anyone else, the answers are solar, wind, and other renewables. The cause of avoiding war in the Middle East does not justify war against American Indians any more than the cause of avoiding war against American Indians justifies war in the Middle East. Solar panels for peace! Wind mills for peace!

Also, not that it's news or anything, but if by "liberals" you mean "Democrats", the Democrat party has always been at best a fake green party -- to point to an obvious examples, bombing other countries is not green. True, a few green politicians may have infiltrated the Democrat party, and some greens may vote for them for "lesser evil" reasons, but the Democrat party as a whole are fake greens, not real ones. So it should come as no surprise that the Democrat party doesn't care about #NoDAPL either. Warmongers abroad, warmongers at home.

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