From Sustainable Edmonds: A wake-up call to pursue alternative energy

At this time in our history, we can view the Gulf oil disaster with great sadness and disgust. Disgust not only at the greed to drill deeper and faster, but drilling beyond adequate safety margins and two working backup systems (only one was operating) to avoid equipment failure in such a sensitive location.

It has become a major tragedy for the environment, for the flora and fauna that inhabit or pass through the region and for all the people whose livelihoods were based on or in the water and for all the supporting personnel who assisted them. The ripple effect of this crisis will continue for many years.

At this time in our history, there are some who believe we have reached the point of “peak oil.” In our lifetime, increasing demands will outstrip production as supply lessens and becomes prohibitively expensive. Many refuse to even consider this possibility, while the U.S. military prepares contingency plans for its inevitability as a major threat to our national security. You can imagine that the federal government is surely a major consumer of oil.

At this time in our history, do we cry and wring our hands at all the wasted oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico? Do we also despair at all the petrochemicals evaporating along with controlled burns polluting the air and increasing greenhouse gases? Or do we take this event as a powerful message, a wake-up call that we must change our thinking and the way we live. Oil will not save us. Oil is the addictive monkey on our backs. The whole world needs energy, but we need clean and sustainable energy that does not lay waste to the environment nor ravage people’s health from its extraction and processing.

At this time in our history, we need to consider all our resources, not as commodities to exploit for gain but as materials to cherish for our sustenance. Our future is to develop advanced alternative energy and delivery systems for small to industrial users. This needs be a no-brainer, worldwide directive. China has seen the green. A Jan. 30 New York Times article, “China is Leading the Race to Make Renewable Energy,” says that China is now the largest maker of wind turbines and solar panels in the world. America was the first country to develop an effective solar panel. We can do it again. Now get busy!

— Written by Richard Bisbee, Sustainable Edmonds board member. This article first appeared in the Enterprise newspapers.

  1. I don’t think anyone is going to take this crisis seriously (except the choir) until gas prices are up to double digits.

  2. watch ‘the road’ , read ‘one second after’ ,, edmonds does not have ANYthing sustainable about it.. or ballard or any other of your scallop burbs

  3. E.J. – it is what we make of it.

    Just finished two years worth of fixing up my house for more efficiency, and reduced utilities by over 30% (Annual utilities at $1000 total). Still moving forward, though – had Winter Sun Design at my house yesterday to do the on-site assessment for installation of solar PV and solar hot water, using the Snohomish PUD 2.9% loan to fund it all. This will drive my electrical net usage to zero, and put a big dent in the natural gas bill.

    Thinking about writing up a story about the process as it goes, so that others can see what’s involved, and commit to taking similar action. My personal vision: we get WA built PV panels up on every unshaded roof in Edmonds, and drive our electricity demand down by at least 20% as a city.

    No, it’s not permaculture. But it is a more efficient way to live, with far less reliance on imported energy, lower overhead $, cleaner air, less risk, …. What’s not to like about that?

  4. E.J. – If you’re in the Edmonds area, email us, and we’ll keep you up-to-speed on what’s going on in our little city related to sustainability. Web page is linked to our name on this post. There may even be occasional invitations, by email, to join in some positive community actions.

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