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.