Powering Down America

That’s a tall order.  How do we do that?  Most people may think we just need some solar panels and wind turbines, and it will be business as usual to correct climate change.  It is a little more complicated than that.  A friend mentioned that it took 1,000 acres of solar panels or wind turbines, I don’t remember which, to power 70,000 homes.  Those are only homes with smaller energy needs and not big box stores, manufacturing plants, restaurants, schools, and hospitals.  Where will we grow food?

George Monbiot in his book, “Out of the Wreckage,” says we need a new story.  As I am a slow reader, I haven’t gotten to what that new story is.  It sounds hopeful though.  But, let’s look at our current story, and this is how I see it.  Marketing big wigs have convinced us to live alone and feel we are entitled to the good life no matter how much it isolates us or puts us in debt.  “Have It Your Way” from, I believe, Burger King.  “Be All You Can Be” was from the Army.  Should we trust marketing to tell us how to live to buy their stuff?

So there is usually a good and bad guy in the story.  Can we can look at the billionaire corporate guys as the bad guys that got us into this climate change mess?  Perhaps.  It seems logical.  And while there are technological improvements in our lives, much of it has left us very vulnerable.  We can’t live without all these conveniences, first of all.  And second, it has pulled us away from our true nature, and that is our relationship with Nature, where all of survival comes from.

So while we watch this Green New Deal die at the hands of Nancy Pelosi, let’s realize it is really in our own hands to get climate change under control . . . by powering down.  We don’t have to wait until they pass anything.  We can do it now.

I coincidentally met a new friend from Milwaukee, who belonged to Transition Milwaukee and recently moved to my area.  It is a Transition Town group.  Transition Towns were conceived in the UK shortly after the documentary, “How Cuba Survived Peak Oil” came out.  Don’t quote me on the timing, though.  I have the Transition Town handbook, which is one of the many books I am going to read when I am sequestered in my little cabin during the winter with nothing to do.  That never seems to happen.

Transition Towns are communities that come together and grow their own food and build passive solar homes, etc., preparing for the end of oil, etc.  They are very worthwhile to look into.  Their Transition Milwaukee had a week long powering down event.  Some people shut their electricity off, took solar showers, didn’t use their car, ate only local food, among many other ideas that they thought of to consume less fossil fuels . . . to power down.

Some other ideas to power down:

  • Give up beef and dairy
  • Eat seasonally
  • Turn your heat down if it is winter
  • Turn your a/c off if it is summer
  • Line dry your clothes
  • Go to the library to use the computer
  • Use a bus or train instead of your car or walk
  • No processed foods
  • Other _____________________________

This is only for one week and not forever, so don’t freak out.  You never know, you may survive and start a new habit.  Do it with friends so you can feel together going through this powering down event.

We can do this until the country gets the Green New Deal passed.  Whenever that is.

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