While we’re busy getting ready for the fall season after the hottest and most volatile summer on record, (fires in Fort Mac, floods in Louisiana, gigantic typhoons, etc.) maybe it’s time to ask if anyone is making progress on the ground where Climate Change actually has to be addressed. Like, what’s happening with solar, that wonderful, non-polluting and ever ready resource coming from the sun? Wasn’t that supposed to make a huge difference and set us on the road to a clean, safe, cheap energy source? Yes, it did until vested self-interests and political expediency got in the way. Though I promised to look for positive stories, I am sorry to say the bad ones just keep coming. This one is about how solar panels will not save us, and why: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/solar-panels-nevada-1.3765962
Meanwhile, solar energy is being pushed hard in China, which raises uncomfortable questions about just how progressive the West truly is. Add to that the ongoing uproar over other, ‘disruptive’ industries, like Airbnb and Uber, to name a couple of obvious ones, and the pattern emerges. It’s not a good one. Put simply, it’s a huge and determined effort by vested interests, whether they are the energy companies or the taxis, or the hotel industry, to simply not change or adapt. No, sir: they’re going to protect their interests even when it flies in the face of reason and hurts everyone else.
We talk a lot about how ‘progress’ driven by science and innovation is the engine of our society. We don’t talk much about a deep-seated reluctance to actually grapple with the change that science and technical innovation brings in its wake. People in San Francisco are throwing rocks at the Google buses that take workers to Google headquarters. They’re not happy about the rising rentals and overall gentrification that these workers, whose daily existence resembles that of high-tech slaves, bring to their run down areas. Understandable, but also a frightening vision of a society that no longer knows how to move, adapt, and thrive.
But here’s the thing: change is inevitable, the only question is whether it will overwhelm us or whether we will exercise some intelligent control. In San Francisco, the underlying problem is a lack of affordable housing. Nobody has been able to deal with that, not in SF or Vancouver or any other city beleaguered by the brutal reality of global money laundering. People are getting pushed out, around, and under.
And when it comes to Climate Change, it’s either we change the way we do business on the planet by coming up with a system that isn’t solely concerned with growth at any cost, or we will be subjected to a nasty, extreme climate. We’re already getting a taste of that. The costs are catastrophic.
So, it seems like a no-brainer to encourage solar panels on everyone’s roof, especially in Vegas. But no. Fear of change is preventing humanity from making intelligent choices in just about any area you care to look. Politics is just one where we seem to be stuck. All other forms of intelligent change are moving at a snail’s pace, pushed back, heckled, jailed, beaten up. You name it.
I ask you, what is the solution?
I don’t have one. And that worries me.