wouldn’t it be nice if we…

After my son and I had our first snowball fight of the year…before Halloween…because the snow caused our power to go out, it got me thinking. Now we have had our power go out many-a-time, but on Saturday as I was habitually turning lights on and off (to no avail…remember the power is out). I thought what if we weren’t dependent on the power grid? What if all of us could find a way to be truly free? Independent I mean. Think about it. No power failures (unless our equipment was faulty). No waiting for <insert power company name> to turn the power back on. What if we made our own energy and gave the extra to others who didn’t have it or who had an equipment failure? Yes, solar energy is all the rage these days. Why am I asking such an obvious question? When things remain the way they are, we are rarely motivated to make positive change. Of course when the initial cost is far from the average person’s reach, it will remain a rarity.

If we think back a mere century-and-a-half or more, people didn’t have electricity and relied on other means to produce heat, light and power to operate their equipment. They could live independently on their farms or on the prairie. Now I’m not saying they didn’t struggle or their ‘grass’ was ‘greener’ (no pun intended). In fact many didn’t survive hard winters, lack of food or extreme weather. However I wonder if technology makes us lazy dependents.

According to the October 2011 issue of Architect Magazine, there are only 100,237 jobs in the solar energy sector as of August 2011. However there was 6.8% growth in solar jobs in the past year. This of course comes on the heels of a large California-based solar-panel manufacturer declaring bankruptcy in August 2011 after receiving over $500 million in federal loan guarantees since 2009.

Later on as the power remained off my son had to find something to do that didn’t require electricity. Fortunately we designed our home with abundant daylight, even including windows in the bathrooms. No lighting of candles in the bathroom during the day…at least not for purposes of seeing. During the day we don’t need artificial light to do most tasks in our house. In fact I rarely turn my office lights on during most days unless it is extremely overcast. I regret we didn’t pursue integrating solar panels (budget), but we got the day-lighting part correct. Maybe some of you can help me find a way to still integrate it.

So that leads us back to the snowball fight. Imagine that. We just went outside and played with only snow and our imaginations. All in all a good day and it didn’t require any electricity.

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wouldn’t it be nice if we…

5 thoughts on “wouldn’t it be nice if we…

  1. I recently watched a TED video where a man was talking about his company and the flexible film products they are developing in which you can generate power from any surface with this film. You could paste it over your windows, or over the building finish.
    Imagine if each new home built generated it’s own power and could share it’s surplus with neighbors? What if, further, each home could collect, filter and store it’s own water, recycling it through urban farming to grow our own food supplies right where we live. Imagine fully sustained communities that collectively share power, water and food locally within a few square miles?
    Imagine further if these communities all worked together as well. Imagine the urban centers that could grow from this type of hyper-localism?! Transportation by any other means other than a bike or your own two legs would be almost unnecessary. Fossil fuels could be left in the ground or stored and used only for emergency scenarios…I could go on and on. Utopian ideals to be sure, but our technology has reached a point to where the only thing holding us back is our reluctance to care about our neighbors.
    Great post! 🙂

      1. But unfortunately the tool is only as good as the man/woman using it. The technology is there. We’re just not using it effectively. The problem isn’t a lack of tools or technology but rather the willingness to use them to fullest value/benefit. We have every alternative fuel source under and including the sun, yet we are still COMPLETELY dependent on fossil fuel consumption which WE KNOW will run out in our lifetime, yet we continue to kick the can down the road. Same shit different day. WE are the problem, not technology. :-\

      2. I agree completely. Technology serves the one who created it. Now we bring in politics, the other evil cousin to this whole mess. But that’s another day.

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