Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rising above the fog

I have just arrived back to a foggy west coast. It was fascinating as we approached the Vancouver airport to see the tentacles of the fog reaching into the lower mainland and all the inlets. It was so bright and sunny up where we were, above the rolling fog!

I was amazed, when visiting in Kansas in this last week, to see not one solar hot water collector. That area receives close to 300 days of sunshine every year! They are showered with enough energy to heat their hot water with very minimal boost, all year long. Evidently there are some noises being made by their governor that this needs to change, especially in light of the fact that they get most of their electricity from coal, and most of their space heating from natural gas. Their clean-looking air is as deceiving there as it is in Alberta.

As we continue to use up what is left of the fossil fuels that stored millions of years of solar energy we will be regretting not moving more seriously, and more quickly, to the post-carbon world. The price that our children and especially grandchildren pay will be far greater than a small reduction in that god we call “the economy.” But we Canadians are just as guilty of dragging our feet as have been the Americans.

One piece of possibly good news recently arrived here in B.C. It seems that the government, especially sensitive in this election year, appears to have leaned on B.C. Hydro to buy more new green power than they had indicated they would. But still the mandate to offer the lowest cost power is still putting a tremendous dampening effect on replacing coal-fired power (coming from Alberta during our night hours) with more sustainable, clean, electricity. Such vision is difficult to find, especially when it pushes prices up a bit faster than might otherwise be the case. At least the voices of many citizens of British Columbia are being heard here.

Perhaps the fog is an apropos metaphor here. While it is damp and cold here near the ocean, the bright sunshine is not far away. Similarly, while efforts to change us from being fogged in to our old, understandable ways of thinking seem to dominate, only a couple hundred feet above us is the bright energy awaiting for us to reach up and grasp!

Pray that a good, stiff, wind soon comes and stirs us all up so that we might all know what awaits us, so close to home.