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Ready To Adopt Those Renewables?

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I read an article today from The Independent reminiscent of many similarly themed articles. It was about solar panels. The personal use kind—the kind you install on your roof.

It didn’t really tell me anything new. The gist of the article was that there was this new survey conducted. And in this survey, they asked British folk whether they wanted to install solar panels on their roofs.

The survey had found that “the majority of” British people would like to install solar panels if
“greater government assistance was available,” the article read.

If you’re looking for the actual figures, that “majority” is 62 percent. And then 60 percent would like to install an energy storage device. Then 71 percent would like to join a community energy scheme—again, if there was government support.

Too bad their government deep-sixed its green subsidies.

On the surface, I guess you could interpret those figures like, “Holy cow! Most British people want to be greenies and install solar panels!”

But let’s be real. What the study shows is that 60-some percent of people would do it if someone else paid for it. Lovely. But well, you know, that means 40-some percent of people are NOT interested in installing solar panels or energy storage devices—EVEN IF the someone else paid for it.

Not exactly a stellar endorsement.

So look. This green thing is peachy. I’m not against renewables. I’m not even apathetic about renewables. I’m just realistic—it doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to fighting climate change or just going green. It's talked about in absolutes. Renewables being the death of coal and oil. Or renewables are dead in the water as Big Oil fights back. This black and white view of things is narrow-minded and impractical.

If you think the world is excited to fight that climate change, you are going to be disappointed. Well, people are generally disappointing I guess, so no shocker there. There are probably many people who are interested in greenifying their lifestyle—but only if it costs them nothing, and only if they have to give up nothing.

Unless maybe you’re a Hipster (which I suppose you wouldn’t call yourself that even if you were), then I suppose you feel good about your greenness. You probably recycle your rainwater in some barrel on your roof. You ride your bicycle to work. You don’t use plastic water bottles and you recycle almost everything, including your skinny jeans and your cans of Pabst or Schlitz. Woot woot. But your green contributions, as noble as they may be, are lost in the sea that is Asia, who is offsetting any dip in US emissions, and then some.


There are some true believers, though, and I salute them. I used to do transcription work, and one of my transcripts was an interview with a woman who was all-in on this green lifestyle. She didn’t buy anything that was packaged. She went to the butcher and would take a reusable container to put meat in that she had purchased. They didn’t use plastic of any kind. They didn’t use soap (it’s packaged). She would bring buckets of water from the river to flush their toilet. Now that’s all-in. I respect that. She’s not driving her 4X4 to some hippie protest of an oil pipeline in ND, creating in their wake millions in cleanup costs.


(photo courtesy BBC)

She sacrificed something (a whole lotta something) instead of jumping up and down asking the rest of the world to do the sacrificing. She’s not flying her fossil-fuel-burning jet or yacht to chastise the world for our dirty global warming ways.


Photo courtesy Eric Worrall, wattsupwiththat.com

And she’s not immersed in the latest fossil fuel cause celebre, just because it is the cause celebre.


Photo courtesy of Instagram

Oh, there are many self-righteous individuals who are eager to bash fossil fuels while enjoying the fruit of the Big Oil tree. Cities suing Big Oil for their role in climate change, all the while consuming the very product they are so vehemently opposed to. She’s not loudly divesting from oil.  Phooey, you sanctimonious grandstanders. I’m calling you out.

If you want to give up your plastic straws and trade your truck for an EV, you do it. Without the fanfare, preferably. And if you’re not ready to give up fossil fuels, SILENCE PLEASE.






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Yeah. I live in Vietnam where everything but everything comes in plastic bags. You see them floating down the rivers and out to sea, full of crap. And there isn't an alternative to putting your stuff in plastic bags here yet.

In the first apartment we had in Saigon there were two bathrooms. I installed an electric shower in each one. They weren't cheap and they cost an arm and a leg to run. In the next apartment we had I had to install 3 electric water heaters one for the kitchen, and one for each bedroom en-suite. Now the cost of running them was an arm and two legs. And then the price of oil and gas fell by quite a bit, so I was looking forward to a bit of a financial respite. Not so much. The govt hiked the price of electric massively. I am aware of the economics behind doing it, but it smarted a lot.

So, when we moved to a new house, I insisted on having a solar water heater fitted on the roof. No more electric water heaters and a significantly lower electric bill. And the thing is that nearly every new house where we live has a solar water heater in the roof now. And because we live in the tropics the solar water heaters work very well indeed. And the cost for a reasonable solar heater and storage tanks is around 700 dollars. 

Now with the sunshine we het here you would think that there would be solar panels every roof. Nope. Too expensive and ...... Well the government taxes oil and gas and charges for electricity, too solar electricity is a low priority.

And despite the plastic bag problem, recycling is very big in Vietnam, There are old ladies who go through the bins at dawn and take out all the beer and soft drinks cans, all the plastic bottles, all of the paper and card, all of the steel and aluminium and sell it. Every beer can has a price.

By contrast, the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, where I worked for a year, has a beer can problem. There are about a million discarded beer cans in and around the town of Munda. No kidding. But what to do with them? The scrap merchants wont take them because it is not cost effective to transport them to the scrap yards on Guadalcanal. And anyway the seas around the Western Province are awash with crashed aircraft, ships, bombs propellant and so on. Guadalcanal itself has an area off the coast called Iron Bottom Sound, so called because it is full of sunken ships and vehicles. 

Aquatic life in the seas around the Solomons are showing levels of detectable heavy metals like cadmium as well as mercury which has been known for years.

Water is is short supply there at times because of a lack of decent storage tanks. The biggest hotel on the island either burns its waste, or takes it outside the reef and dumps it in deep water, something they have been doing for years.

And on the island of Funafuti, Tuvalu, where I sent a month a couple of years ago, they import drinking water in plastic bottles from Fiji - hundreds of thousands a year. But, Funafuti has massive annual rainfall. So why don't they reserve the rainwater, filter it and use it?

In the Solomons and Funafuti its because "no one will pay for it".

Which is similar to the unexploded ordnance problem in Vietnam. Little has been done to clear up the bombs and bullets because.... No one will pay for it. Although Vietnam is spending billions on infrastructure development, there are still huge areas of bomb contaminated ground.

Its the same the whole world over,

its the poor what gets the blame,

its the rich what gets the pleasure

Aint it all a blooming shame......

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