Last week, I started talking about some of the issues in my books. One of the biggest current issues that I talk about is what’s often referred to as “Going Green” or “alternative energy.” Alternative energy fascinates me.
(In case you’re wondering, I’m not going to get into the Global Warming/Climate Change debate. I’m sure you’re all smart enough to figure out where you stand on those issues without me yammering at you about them.)
In some ways, I’m a very lazy person. I don’t want to work hard, I want to work easy. I’ll look at things, fairly often, and think, “There’s got to be a better way to do that.” I think that alternative energy is one of those “better ways.”
The sun is always going to shine, the wind is always going to blow. (And, hey, if I’m wrong about the sun always shining, we have much bigger issues than where we’re getting our energy!) Why aren’t we doing more to harness this?
You’re probably thinking “But, Katie, solar power is very easy to get.” Not really. Aside from all of the petty restrictions we have that prevent us from using it, as I mentioned in my post about HOAs, there’s also the cost-prohibitive nature of alternate energy. Many things are getting cheaper as technology advances, but the resources to use alternative energy don’t seem to be heading that way. I think that’s pretty close to being a crying shame.
When I was much younger, we liked to take road trips. One of those road trips led us to Wisconsin Dells. It’s a tourist trap, but a really fun one! One of the places we visited was the Robot World & Exploratory. After a (really cheesy) tour, you wound up in a place that had all kinds of fun things to play with: giant static electricity generators, huge needle beds to make hand prints, sand and soap stations to play with, a hallway you could run through where breaking light beams would cause musical tones to play. Stuff like that. One of the displays was set up with two bicycles. As you pedaled the bikes, lights on the board in front of you would light up. The faster you pedaled, the higher the lights would go.
Obviously, that was just a display set up to entertain children. But, why aren’t we using more things like that? With the current “join a gym” craze that’s going around, why aren’t more gyms using power-producing bicycles? So the bike only produced enough energy to run one light while the bike was actually in motion. At least it’s a place to start! The gym would still have to draw power from the main grid, but it wouldn’t be drawing as much power in that situation as it’s drawing by not having any power-producing equipment. If bikes can be set up that way, I think that treadmills would also be able to be set up in a way that would enable them to generate power. And it would be wonderful if both of those items were available for home use, too.
I think that solar panels are also under-available. I haven’t figured out the exact conversions, yet, for how many panels you need to generate how much power. I know that it depends on where your home is, what the angle of your roof is, and how much direct sunlight you get each day. The basic point is that if you get sun, you can make solar power. If one panel will only produce enough power to run your dishwasher once a day, fine. It’s that much less power that we have to draw from non-renewable sources. With all of the new homes being built these days, why don’t more of them offer solar panels as an option? Maybe you can only afford to get one panel, maybe you can afford to get twenty. Each panel that was installed would be helpful to some extent.
Wind energy falls into the same category. Shortly after we moved here, we got our first taste of Colorado “breezes.” They don’t consider it “windy” until the wind is strong enough to almost rip the car door off. These “breezes” will come through for days or weeks at a time. Yes, we do have fairly wind-still months. However, if we had small turbines set up in a few more places, they’d be able to produce a good bit of energy when the wind is blowing. I’m not talking about those 1/4 mile high monstrosities that they like to put up in groups of fifty or more. I’m talking about the windmills that can be set up on top of houses or in back yards.
But, that takes us back to HOAs and deed restrictions. *sigh* I just wish that people would figure out if they really wanted us to “go green” or not. If you do, give us a chance. Stop making it so hard, cash-wise and restriction-wise, for us to do it. If you don’t, stop yelling at us about what bad people we are for not using renewable resources.
Long story short, I made up a place in my books where HOAs don’t exist and people are free to use the renewable resources available to them. I just think it’s sad and funny that I had to invent a fictional world for it to happen in.
Rant over. Thanks for listening. 🙂