There is even an appeal to End Days and Rapture Ready Survivalists without scaring anybody with Al Gore or CO2: Solar IS Civil Defense. A few square inches of solar electric panel can power the flashlight (LED), radio, cell phone, and extra set of batteries we’re supposed to have on hand in case of emergency or disaster. Solar flashlight, radio, and cell phone chargers (add a battery tray and you can charge rechargeable batteries) are available, off the shelf, from a variety of sources for about $30 or less. There are also solar/dynamo versions for about the same price. That combination of sunlight and muscle power is a source of survival electricity day or night as long as the sun keeps shining, there is strength to turn the crank of the dynamo, and the batteries can hold a charge. This makes a fine survival tool and a real advantage in a civil defense situation or Armageddon.
Such a solar/dynamo light, radio, and cell phone charger is also a significant rise in the standard of living for the billion or two people now in the world who do not have access to electricity. Include the bicycle (one of our most efficient machines) as a power source and there is the possibility of a real leapfrog technology around the world for the poorest of the poor.
Take it a step farther. Since before the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, US and NATO forces have distributed at least 700,000 solar/dynamo am/fm/sw radios throughout that country. These solar/dynamos do not presently charge anything but the radio battery sealed inside the case. With a simple modification, the addition of some wiring, they could charge AA and other standard size rechargeable batteries and help power other devices like an LED light or a cell phone (there is cell phone service in parts of Afghanistan). This would magnify their utility as tools for economic and social development. US AID plans to send 250,000 solar/dynamo radios to Sudan over the next few years as part of an educational project. Same problem, no battery charging capability, and another example of an under-utilized, installed solar capacity.
I’m tired of talking about the footnotes in IPCC reports. I want to do something that improves my life today and the survival of my children and grandchildren tomorrow. Standard maintenance is not as glamorous as stolen emails, but the Republicans’ laughter during the campaign didn’t change the fact that keeping your tires properly inflated saves gas and money while reducing tire wear. Obama missed a step when he didn’t double down by talking about other car and truck energy saving tips. People who believe in climate change could take the hint and protest the inaction of their elected representatives on energy, the environment, and jobs by running roadside tune-ups for more miles per gallon. They might even introduce their neighbors to the concept of hypermiling while helping anybody and everybody save money and energy, even the people who confuse climate with weather, listen to Rush, and watch Glenn. Maybe one demand of such positive protests could be that Obama host a weatherization barnraising on the White House with “This Old House,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and all the other TV home improvement shows recording the event. That is, if any reporters were interested in reporting something other than hockey stick graphs and Senatorial igloos.
We aren’t even really talking about climate change now. We are talking about the science of climate change as reflected through a funhouse mirror. The solutions work whether the science is faulty or correct and those solutions (efficiency and renewables) have had about 70% approval in all the polls I’ve seen since the first energy crisis back in the early 1970s. I don’t want to talk about the problem any more. I’d like to talk about solutions.
Climate change is moot. Let’s begin to do the things that save money and energy, reduce pollution and waste, create jobs, decrease foreign imports, and improve the economy. Mama Gaia will do whatever she’ll do. I don’t care whether catastrophic climate change is real or not, happening or not, caused by me or sunspots or the Reptiloids. I just want to use my solar income and get closer to zero emissions, zero defects, and zero injuries (DuPont’s standard for their business according to Gil Friend in The Truth About Green Business. Evidently, DuPont has not only saved a significant amount of money this way but earned more by sharing some of their methods and practices.)
Judging from what I read, hear, and see, we’re stuck in this moot court climate debate merry-go-round and can’t or won’t step off.
cross-posted to dailykos, bluemassgroup, eurotribune