Monday, December 10, 2007

Solar Energy, Now

I am fortunate that all around me, there are families like mine trying to make changes that will positively impact not only their own lives, but the lives of others as well.

I've been thinking about peak oil and scarcity, as well as about abundance. Finally, I am moving away form being scared to death about the end of oil. I am letting go of the fear, and I am welcoming in transformation.

I believe that we will live in a world that is experiencing change. I do not believe in a technological savior, but I do think that we can transition to a world based on solar electric as our main power source. It isn't going to be easy, and it isn't going to happen fast enough to prevent disease, despair, death . . .

I think, though, that it means that the little, "bottom up" changes we make as individuals will make a difference. Not a difference in terms of the end of oil, and a not a difference in terms of slowing climate change. Those are big issues. Life on our planet is going to change.

We can be at the forefront. We can harness the sun's energy now. It doesn't take huge investment and technology. We can:

Grow food. Turn the power of the sun into food calories we can consume. In turn we reduce the amount of fuel needed to bring our food to us.

Dry clothes outside. Hang a laundry line. If we need to do a lot of drying indoors, make, scavenge, or buy a drying rack. The sun's energy will dry our clothing. We unplug our electric dryers or reduce our use of natural gas.

Use the sun to warm our homes. Start by opening curtains on cold, sunny days. Eventually we may want to make a simple solar heater for our homes. Plant according to our climates. Deciduous trees near windows can keep our homes cooler in summer and then as they drop their leaves they allow more sunlight in through the windows in winter.

Use the sun to heat hot water. We can start simple. Put a dark bucket full of water in a sunny place. Use it to wash dishes, or too fill the bath tub. Eventually we may want more: there are plenty of plans on the internet. Solar hot water makes too much sense for us not to use it.

Learn to live by the natural light in our homes. How often do we flip the lights when it isn't necessary? Take a shower by the daylight already in our homes. Put reading chairs near windows.

Let the sun shine . . .

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