Magic Bullets

There is no such thing as cheap energy. Producing energy has a big impact on our environment, whether it’s fracking or blowing the tops off of mountains or reservoirs stagnating behind their hydroelectric dams, or even wind turbines killing birds and upsetting the neighbors.

BP Gulf disaster! Chernobyl, Fukushima! Producing energy is risky business. As a consequence it’s precious and should be treated as a sacred resource.

But that’s not what we’re used to. That’s not what we want. We want to have oodles of energy always available, endless energy, waiting for our command like a genie inside a bottle. Don’t think about it–just hit a switch. What do you desire, sahib?

Many people today say that renewable energy will never be available on a big enough scale to fulfill our energy needs. So we may as well not even pursue it. We should turn our backs on all that potential energy and wait for the big magic bullet to come along that will solve all our problems. Something we can build on a huge scale and then never think about again.

I told a friend of mine about a program here in California that would equip his roof with solar panels without any money up front and monthly payments based on how much money he saved on his electricity bill. He said that he’d measured his roof and figured out that there wasn’t enough room for enough solar panels to completely cover his energy needs. So why even bother?

Because you’d save a bunch of money and lower your carbon emissions, that’s why!

But no-o-o-o! It’s all or nothing! It has to be a magic bullet that will take care of everything!

Magic bullet thinking

Solar panels? Ridiculous! They don’t work at night.

A bicycle? Fuhgedabout it! Much too difficult for long trips!

Hanging up laundry is an outmoded stupid thing to do. It might rain!

Realistic thinking

Make electricity when the sun shines.

Ride your bicycle for short commutes–at least until you get all buff and want to set records.

Hang out your laundry when it’s not raining.

Do what you can. Head in the right direction.




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