Solar Update: August 2009 was the calm before the storm

    Sunpower-Solar-Enery-August-2009

    I can’t say that August was particularly calm from a schedule and activities perspective. However, it was relatively calm compared to the whirlwind of activities that will hit shortly with the upswing in business travel and a great start to the SF Bay Area theatre season with TheatreWorks’ “Yellow Face”.

    I realize that recently I have been thinking a lot about solar energy. Why?

    I sped up the reading of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” in order to bite into Michael Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma”. (The review of “Blink” will come soon in case the world needs another review of “Blink”). The first part of the “Omnivore’s Dilemma” is all about the industrialization of corn, which makes up a significant portion of the American diet. It follows the historical events leading to corn’s dominance and the switch from solar energy (natural photosynthesis) to fossil fuels as the beginning of food chain.

    Besides educating me and getting me quite concerned about what I am ingesting everyday, it has also raised my consciousness about renewable resources vs. nonrenewable resources. Currently, with the incredible national debt, there is much discussion about mortgaging our children’s future. However, the Ominvore’s Dilemma has made me think we should even be more concerned about the pillaging of the environment and the quality of soil, water, and diversity of species we are leaving to generations to follow.

    This sounds obvious, but it is the direct connections that Pollan vividly paints that has really made me contemplate this. It makes this article I wrote over a year ago seem so superficial. Merely scratching the surface of true understanding. The image does not convey the absurb circular relationship between fossil fuel and corn. The belief was somehow ethanol, which is made from corn, is greener than fossil fuels. This notion is misinformed since these days with industrialized corn, corn is actually produced from using a significant amount of energy from fossil fuels, not from solar energy.

    There needs to be a total “GREENESS” measurement which factors in the environmental impact of production, consumption and disposal to provide consumers with better guidance and ability to assess their choices. I also think that there should be some national measurement like the deficit or GDP which reflects how we are doing as a nation in preserving the environment for future generations. We have no way of reflecting this.

    It is the simple, age-old concept of “What gets measured, gets done.”

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