So What's the Story Here?

Written by Energy Tinkerer, Wimbi

When I succumb to my ever-present temptation to give diatribes re climate change to friends, the usual reaction, aside from their universal intense desire to change the subject-RIGHT NOW! is - spoken in a weary voice --: 

“Sure, so now what do I DO, don’t see a thing I can do that would even be a spit in the ocean, so why do you bother me with this stuff anyhow?” 

Yep, that’s it. Most people have absolutely no clue, not only of the threat itself, but also what can be done, and on top of that, what they hear of what needs doing, if anything at all, is woe, sacrifice, hardship, end of civilization as we know it, and all that, endless! 

Result- paralysis. Not good. What to do? 

As usual, we engineers have a solution. What is it? Change the story. Simple as that. 

What’s the new story? Glad you asked. Here it is, but only in part, the real story goes on and on. 

What to do? Lots! And it’s easy, profitable, fun, and effective, and YOU can do it, and you can do it right now. Some examples, from a very long list. 

  1. Look around for some people who are already doing it, and join up. Make sure these people are smart, fun to talk with and serve good food.
  2. Find out from them what stuff is available right now to cut your energy use. LED’s, all that. Saves money, too.
  3. Do or have done an energy audit, even if it is real simple. Example, go to the web and find out which standard domestic appliances use the most energy. You might be surprised. Example, a microwave uses a lot of electricity, but only for very brief times - most of the time, anyhow. One minute to heat my cold cuppa tea. On the other hand, a standard hot water tank uses far more, most of it piddled away in heat leaks before you get around to using any hot water at all. 
  4. If you are so inclined, look around for what is possible, and start pushing suppliers to do it. Example, any sane person should recognize instantly that a fridge should not need to run at all if the outside temp is lower than the fridge temp. All that is needed is a heat conductor. There are such things. Tell your supplier that you want one. They won’t have it, of course, but would start thinking about getting it.
  5. Same with electric car. Dealers don’t like them. Why? Simple. They don’t need service or repair anywhere near as often as a gas car, so the dealer is cut out of a major source of his profit. Push the dealer, or, better, get your group to push the dealer en masse.
  6. When you get that EV, get some solar panels to feed it. Far, far better than feeding it with coal electricity.
  7. You live in a deep dark valley and have no site for a solar panel? No problem, join with others to get a solar farm sited best to do the job, and share the rewards with your group.

And so on and on. So many opportunities. I am guessing that this country could get along just fine on less than 15% of the energy we now are using. And, needless to say, that much, and much more, we can right now get from wind and solar. 

But one theme runs thru it all- collaboration, communication, community. The keystone to the arch. 

I remember as a kid being impressed by Julius Caesar’s exhortation to his troops as they entered the hostile northern forests: 

“Romans, we shall triumph! Those Teuton barbarians are indeed, huge and strong, but they act only as a mob, having no coordination amongst themselves. We Romans act together as one, and together we are invincible!”