How to Change US Energy in One Growing Season through practical demonstrations of available technologies and public education in all media.
Applicable to the United States of America
1. Consistently demonstrate practical, affordable energy efficiency and renewable energy ideas, devices, and systems at the over 7000 weekly farmers' markets <http://www.localharvest.org/> that take place across the USA from Memorial Day to Halloween or Thanksgiving.
The people who attend farmers' markets are a core constituency for green technology and practical applications that save money, energy, and resources. They are likely to be early adopters who can spread those possibilities into the community. I've done energy demos at my local farmers' market
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soHywMFFrJg> and know that a renewable energy company sometimes participates in the year-long weekly market near Providence, RI <http://www.farmfresh.org/food/farmersmarkets_details.php?market=29>. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more examples out there.
Do energy education weekly at as many of those 7000 weekly markets as possible and over one growing season energy use and attitudes would change significantly. See Mr Franklin's Folks
<http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/8/22/140257/-Mr-Franklins-Folks> for one vision of how this might work.
Home Energy Efficiency Team <http://www.heetma.com/> of Cambridge, MA has been doing monthly weatherization barnraisings since the summer of 2008. Since then, at least 18 other nearby and distant communities <http://www.heetma.com/node/3> have begun their own weatherization parties. Still other groups are doing solar barnraisings in at least four states, that I know of:
Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative <http://www.plymouthenergy.org/> in NH
Seacoast Area Renewable Energy Initiative <http://www.searei.org/> in the Piscataqua region on Maine and NH
Coop Power <http://www.cooppower.coop/> in Western MA
Grid Alternatives <http://www.gridalternatives.org/> in CA
During the last energy crisis in the 1970s, there were groups that did solar barnraisings too. Some of those solar devices are still working
Personally, I'd like to see a weatherization barnraising on the White House
<http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/12/18/222357/86>. With the full participation of all the TV carpentry shows, "This Old House," "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," the HGTV and DIY channels.... It could make for some great PSAs and instructional audio/video and the power of the President's bully pulpit (plus a little of his own sweat equity) would go a long way toward generating the mass movement toward energy efficiency that we should have undertaken thirty years ago.
Since President Obama isn't doing it, we can do it ourselves. Make energy efficiency a fad and a community standard.
3. Energy education could also work in conjunction with emergency preparedness and civil defense. Start with the basics - flashlight, cell phone, radio, an extra set of batteries.... all of which can be powered with a couple of square inches of PV. Add a hand crank or pedal power back up and you have reliable production of AA and better electricity day or night, by sunlight or muscle power.
Solar IS Civil Defense
, pure and simple. It is also a significant rise in the standard of living for the 1.6 or so billion people in this world who don't have access to electricity today.
In fact, there are organizations
where you can join a buy one give one program and support coordinated development in the developing world with civil defense in the developed world.
4. Build an online, ongoing global brainstorm on local, practical climate adaptations and solutions so that different groups working on these issues around the world can share experiences and speed innovation.
I'd like to see an online solutions architecture established to make good energy ideas go viral. There are already some sites which are useful resources:
Open E Farm <http://openfarmtech.org/index.php/Main_Page>
Solar Cooking Archive <http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/The_Solar_Cooking_Archive_Wiki>
5. Public Service Announcements in all media which show people how to use renewable energy and energy efficiency in soundbytes. Sell solar like toothpaste. I have made some of my own club-footed and left-handed videos which could serve as examples: http://solarray.blogspot.com/2011/07/solar-psa-south-facing-window-is.html
It worked on the Homefront in WWII and some of the propaganda produced then has strong echoes today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIlQJg1kSvk
It is way past time for the changes we need. We shouldn't wait for politicians or business to change. We should start making the changes we need ourselves. Begin the parade and there will be plenty of "leaders" ready to run to the front of the line.
A solar civil defense, weekly energy demos at the farmers' market, monthly weatherization and solar barnraisings, an all media public education campaign on energy efficiency throughout all sectors of the economy and society, I think that's a good start toward reducing emissions in a way that doesn't require people to believe in climate change or not.
Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous behaviors that will avoid extinction.
R. Buckminster Fuller
We remain alert so as not to get run down, but it turns out you only have to hop a few feet to one side and the whole huge machinery rolls by, not seeing you at all.
The only war is the war against imagination.
The only war is the war against imagination.
The only war is the war against imagination....
the war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it.
Diane di Prima