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Saturday, June 18, 2011

A letter for my dedicated readers :)

     Hello again, dear readers. I am back from my short "hiatus" and I hope you'll realize that I have been out of the blog-o-sphere recently for good reason.

     First of all, you may or may not know that, among other things, I have been spending tireless hours as of late working towards getting a position as Sustainability Director in the UC Undergraduate Student Government, as well as finishing the school year successfully, and on top of that moving to Alaska to be an organizer for the Alaskans for Energy Freedom Campaign- specifically to do grass-roots organizing with the mat-valley coalition. More about all of that very soon.

     I'd like to take a minute to chat a little bit about a recent personal change in attitude towards clean energy and sustainability that I've experienced. I really think that it has been a maturation in my perspective in the change that is actually necessary for the real and significant improvement in the area of human-related carbon footprint reduction.

     Full disclosure: when I started this blog, I had hoped to be part of creating a sort-of "cultural sea-change" which leads to reduction of energy consumption in our broadly-sprawled sub-urban communities which, frankly, are energy pits (see the January blogs). I felt that I could write a blog that would reach my immediate friends and family in a way that would encourage a few people in my smaller circles to be part of the larger movement. Well, not only do I not blame any of you for keeping your heat turned on in February (trust me, it wasn't much fun without it), but a total cultural shift is unrealistic without the support from a media that is more-or-less supported by funds from big oil and big coal; not to mention television is a market driven by consumerism itself.

     The fallacy of that thought process is that there is just one solution to the climate crisis. Carbon pollution from coal-fired electric plants could in fact be eliminated if we all cut our energy bills in half. Realistically, that will never happen.

     What is realistic is to say that it will be a combination of many small efforts to remove the one big problem. Yes- we need to reduce energy usage. The information I've seen shows that basic energy usage reductions are the low hanging fruit so-to-speak, and could drop our climate impact as much as 30-40%. That number is in a perfect world. We all know it's not a perfect world.

      Our efforts to reduce consumption need to be strong, but what we also need is for the energy suppliers to meet us half way. A top-down approach of renewable energy sources that are done responsibly in conjunction with a reasonable cultural shift is where the real answer exists.

      This realization is what motivates me to do more than just the expected things, such as: recycle, eat local, ride a bike, or buy organic, among many other "traditionally" sustainable things. I have taken to lobbying against irresponsible energy sources like coal, oil, and natural gas and supporting actual renewable energy sources. Maybe my readers don't have the time to do these things but I think that we all can agree that it helps to support public transit, green candidates, campaign finance reform- as well as voting with your dollar by buying and shopping companies that use sustainable practices. These are the simple things that will drive our government and industry to meet you in the middle, and will drive the decision makers to meet us in the middle for the change we all really need to live reasonably in the near future.

      Thanks for your patience and continued support. I'll be writing about my work here in Alaska and at UC very soon. As usual, I appreciate your feedback and comments. Feel free to send me your blog requests about how you can do more, or if you have questions about specific issues. Much love, Brian