by joelado, Sun May 06, 2007 at 07:24:04 AM EDT
You must have heard the expression put your money where your mouth is? Do you ever wonder what that means? Put your money where your mouth is? It means instead of preaching to people what they should do, live by example. Some people say it means that we pay for the changes we want. So, for all of us who like to sit around and talk about ecology, pollution and climate change how about we try to do something about it. Put our money where our mouths are.
This is not a criticism of our life style, where I, self-righteously brow beat you for all of your energy consumption misdeeds. Quite the contrary, my friend, Green Teeth for me means putting money behind those things that would help bring about the changes that we want for a sustainable society without crimping our life style. There is a bunch of things we can easily do to put some teeth into our green choices.
The easiest choices are things like buying fuel efficient cars and energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. That helps a little, but lowering your fuel and energy consumption only prolongs our use of hydrocarbons. This does little to stop climate change. The only thing we would be doing by slowing but continuing the use of fossil fuels is deciding whether it will be our children who will suffer the consequences of global climate change or our grandchildren. To completely eliminate our personal use of carbon we need to take stronger measures.
One of the best choices that we can make as consumers is to purchase solar panels and install a solar energy system on our homes. Using wind power would be just as good, either to augment or if you are in a windy area as your main power source. You can also buy wind and solar credits as a way to direct your energy bill to renewable sources. I know that people may tell you that going solar is not cost effective. Does that really matter when you are trying to save the planet? What the "people" don't tell you is that currently the difference between what you are doing now with energy and what you could be doing with solar is like the difference between renting and buying. When youyou're your utility bill every month you are in essence renting your energy and will continue to do so forever, when you purchase a solar or wind electric system you are in essence purchasing your energy. Life style is becoming less and less a factor.
The main thing that I want to let people know is that green choices don't need to be a sacrifice type thing. Many people believe that going green means suffering. Going green means to squeeze into tiny fuel efficient cars, and living in a cold house in the winter and a hot house in the summer. It means no huge plasma TV. Well, put that notion out of your head. How may of you have roofs on your houses and have sun shining on them every sunny day and don't have solar panels to turn all that solar energy into electricity or hot water? Do you ever think that the sun hitting your roof is going to waist? When you think about it, that sun beating on your roof could be producing electricity, that it is not means that it is usable energy going to waste. Instead of using greenhouse gas producing fuels you could be powering your everyday lives with the power of the sun.
Powering our houses with the power of the sun is a real big commitment that I hope we can all make someday, but in the mean time we can do little things to get us to a sustainable future. Where I am putting my money now days is in green transportation outreach. Green transportation outreach is demonstrating for the public that using green fuels, or alternative fuels is something that is doable and not a sacrifice. One of the biggest hurdles I face with green energy is that wrong perception of sacrifice that I talked about earlier. One of the most pervasive views that I have worked hard against is that electric vehicles are small, slow, derivatives of golf carts. For the past 6 years a group of dedicated enthusiasts has put on an electric vehicle drag race to demonstrate how really powerful electric vehicles are today, and these are things built largely by back yard enthusiasts. We call this event the Power of DC. This June 2nd and 3rd we are doing it again only the demonstration has been greatly expanded. In the years past we only held an electric vehicle drag race. This year we are holding the drag race again at the Mason Dixon drag way on June the 3rd, however, this year we added a whole new day to do an automobile autocross. A typical autocross is a series of timed events. It is like auto racing only instead of racing side by side you race one at a time against the other racers times. The areas of focus for our event are AutoCross, ScooterCross, Range Rally (8.5 miles), and Show-n-Shine. Go see the Power of DC.
Because of the greatly expanded event we need money. Not big money. These events are mostly operated by volunteers, but little money. Money for trophies, money for the use of the venues, money to rent equipment needed maintain human intestinal comfort, banners, literature and more. A small check of $10 to $20 dollars would be very useful and greatly appreciated. Made your check out to EVA/DC putting in the memo "Power of DC" and send it to:
4314 Ann Fitz Hugh Drive
Annandale, VA 22003.
The Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, D.C. is a non profit (501 [c]3) organization so your contributions are tax deductible.
The event was covered by the Discovery Channel in the past you can follow the link to the Electric Dragster if you want to see a video and get a sense of the event.
The combination of solar energy and electric transportation means being carbon free in two of the largest purveyors of global climate changing pollutants. If the equivalent cost of gasoline displaced by using an electric vehicle powered by solar panels is used to look at the cost of a solar electric system, the return on investment is covered in just a few years. How can I put this so that it is better understood? Some people claim that the cost of solar panels is too expensive to justify its cost for covering the cost of electricity in a house alone. It is not, over the life of the solar electric system the cost of the electricity is about the same. The difference being that using a utility is like renting your energy with no end in sight while using a solar electric system is like purchasing your energy a head of time. The risk for the cost of the system is moved from the electric utility to you; however, the risk of future price increases from utility bills is hedged if you purchase a solar electric system. If you buy a large enough system where the electricity can be also used to charge up an electric vehicle, the cost of the gasoline that you would have otherwise bought must be deducted from the cost of the solar electric system. If you travel the average 15,000 miles a year at the CAFÉ average of 25 miles per gallon and gasoline is selling at an average of $2.50 cents a gallon. (I know it is selling for more now, but for arguments sake we will use the lower number, it only serves to make solar electric systems look even cheaper if gasoline is more expensive) That would be 10 cents a mile. You could take an additional $1,500.00 dollars a year off the cost of your solar electric systems cost. In 10 years that would be $15,000 dollars, which is a significant part of the cost of the solar electric system. In 20 years time you will have more than paid for the solar electric system just using it to power your vehicle alone. Also, all those years would be carbon free, smog free, pollution free years. And there would still be typically 5 or so years left on your warranty for your solar electric system.
So, this is the way to go for a future Earth that can live on for generations to come while sacrificing little. There is no guilt in keeping your house warm in winter and cool in summer when the energy being used is solar. If you buy a big honking electric SUV and power it from solar panels or wind, no one should be looking at you with the eyes of environmental disdain since you are contributing nothing to the planet's degradation, (as long as you recycle your vehicle). Big plasma TV powered by the sun, not doing a thing to add green house gasses.
You just need Green Teeth to push these technologies forward. The things you can do are to buy solar panels and electric cars, do an energy audit and get rid of those energy hogs, and contribute to organizations dedicated to demonstrating these technologies to the public, raising public awareness about these technologies and most of all getting them into the market so people can purchase these technologies. Allowing us to put our money where our mouths are. Armed with the knowledge of what to do with our money in essence gives us the ability to take a bite out of pollutants with our Green Teeth.
Originally published on EVWorld.com