People Power: Government, the Environment and Us

For some years I’ve been increasingly fascinated by the degree to which Americans want government to do everything for them yet don’t want to pay taxes for it and simultaneously dislike “big government”.

Lately I’ve been finding it especially ironic that many are reviving the old “red scare” which completely misunderstands socialism (and conflates it with Soviet Communism) while also wanting government to take care of everything from roads to health care to the environment to jobs, etc.  Which is kind of socialist…

Liberals have always been more complacent about government but in some ways the widespread assumption that government intervention is the most important source of help for multiple problems is misguided in my opinion.

For instance, the liberal/left keeps jumping up and down about climate change and making the federal government’s role in it central and crucial to any success.  In the meantime, though, if you look around at what’s happening around the world, the greatest and most vibrant projects with potential for saving the earth arose from individuals, non-profits and local governments taking initiative to work on new and creative ideas.

Project Drawdown is an extremely heartening book detailing innovations already under way with potential to turn around climate change if they continue and expand. Multitudes of projects are already happening and almost none of them were implemented by national governments. See also Yes Magazine, Planet tab, and note this article in particular: How to Not Be Completely Depressed About Climate Change.

I’m not saying that government can’t play an important role or that it isn’t a huge help if national governments get on board.  But the reality is most federal governments are so ruled by corporate interests and so deeply corrupted by those ties that to me it isn’t realistic to assume even the “right” elected representatives can create changes of the magnitude we need.

The one heartening piece I’ve seen lately was the number of newly elected representatives to the U.S. House who raised money only through individuals, not through corporate PACs.  If we could accomplish a turnover in which the majority of those elected are doing it without corporate money, we might start shifting the corruption because they might be less subject to influence.  I also think that might take too long.

Too me the great hope for the world is in having more of us participating, from trying out the kinds of innovations others have already launched, to financially supporting non-profits with viable programs to creating your own climate saving project.  From projects you can do in your own yard to ideas for solar buildings and/or neighborhoods, etc. there are multitudes of ways people power can expand and create ever greater impacts.

Throughout this series I’ll be calling for local action and for more conscious meshing of ideas, groups, volunteering etc. within communities in order to separate ourselves on many levels from the greed of the 2% and corporate power.

A topic for another day is using people power to break corporate power and thus the global corporate tendency to destroy the environment.  In the meantime, yes, work to elect “green” candidates and push for helpful legislation, but even more important look at your local landscape and see what YOU can do.  What’s happening that you could participate in with friends?  What organizations are doing great things that could use volunteers or more funds?

And for the spiritually-minded, who believe in the power of prayer, visualization and energy:  holding a vision of a healthy world, raising your own vibration to help raise the world’s vibration, sending healing energy to Earth and affirming the positive innovations by bringing attention to them are all ways to contribute.

The People Power series so far:

We are the World Blogfest July 2017 edition

Sorry I’m a little late with this month’s WATWB.  Love, love, love this news, so definitely wanted to share!  Check out the Good News Network to keep up with positive news.

Goals of Paris Agreement May Be Met Sooner Than Expected

July 29, 2017

waynejparker
Displayed with permission from Good News Network

The precipitous drop in costs for renewable energy technology-even from prices a few years ago-means that carbon emissions may decrease faster and hit the targets earlier than those envisioned by the Paris Climate Agreement. Here are three technologies making that happen:

1. Solar – the average price of a MWh of electricity from solar cells has dropped from $394 in 2009 to $55 today. Solar accounted for 39% of all new electric generating capacity last year, topping all other methods for the first time.

2. Wind – the cost of wind power has likewise dropped dramatically, from an average of $135 per megawatt-hour in 2009 to $47. Wind energy is currently generated in 41 of the 50 U.S. states, with capacity of 82,000 megawatts, double the amount 6 years ago.CHECK OUT: India Plants Record-breaking 66 Million Trees in 12 Hours

3. Electric Vehicles (EVs) – the changes in EV availability, cost, range and customer acceptance are remarkable.

EVs like the Tesla 3 and Chevy Bolt have a range of over 200 miles. Even the 25-30 mile range of many new plug-in hybrids covers over 80% of the trips most people take, with the gasoline engine available for the remainder. The cost of the new Tesla and Bolt is around $35,000, yet the average cost of a new car in the US this year is $34,000. Over 20 new EVs will be introduced in the next year, with the cost per mile for electricity usually less than half the cost of gasoline, depending on fuel costs in each area.

Recharging EV batteries takes less time today; some of the newer technologies can charge batteries to 80% capacity in 30 minutes or less-which makes the growing network of recharging stations at restaurants and highway stops more pertinent.

MORECompany is Offering to Retrain Coal Miners as Wind Farmers For Free

Tesla’s Model X was tested as the safest SUV ever, of any type. Without a gasoline motor or transmission, EVs can have larger ‘crumple zones’ and the batteries under the floor create a lower center of gravity reducing roll-overs. They often accelerate faster than gasoline-powered cars because of the greater range of torque in electric motors.

Non-hybrid EVs also win the maintenance test since they have no transmission, engine, radiator, water pump, oil pump, etc. to service. Because of their simplicity and the reliability of electric motors, EVs may last 500,000 miles or more.

While coal currently provides about 30% of US electricity, that number is declining with each passing year. In contrast, the share of renewables is growing rapidly and will surpass coal, perhaps sooner rather than later. Thus, as time goes on, EVs will be even better for the environment as their source fuel becomes cleaner.

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The economic momentum of renewably-powered cars is also moving governments to support the trend. India’s new policy is that the country will sell only EVs by 2030. China is singing the same tune, with new requirements and support of their own EV industry. Britain and France just announced an end to fossil fuel cars in their countries by 2040.

Wayne Parker is a consultant who helped develop one of the earliest electric car competitions and was Deputy Director of California’s SolarCal office. He lives in Eugene, Oregon now and has a Tesla Model 3 on order.

Click To Share The News With Your Friends – OR,  (Photo by Topaz Solar Farm

The co-hosts of We Are the World Blogfest:

Belinda WitzenhausenCarol Walsh,Chrissie ParkerDamyanti BiswasEmerald BarnesEric LahtiInderpreet Kaur UppalKate PowellLynn HallbrooksMary GieseMichelle WallacePeter NenaRich WeatherlyRoshan RadhakrishnanSimon FalkSusan ScottSylvia SteinSylvia McGrath

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