It's not some weird, hippy stuff we're talking about here. When I was a child, (oh, come on, it wasn't THAT long ago) every farm had a windmill that pumped water from a well. Forty years ago my brother built a functioning solar collector from recycled beer cans and an old storm window. It put out some major heat.
The sun has been powering the whole planet for quite some time. It's going to be around as long as we need it. Coal and oil are limited. They will run out. It takes millions of years to make them and not so many to use them up. And getting to them isn't pretty. I don't need to say more about that, do I? And what fills in the holes they leave behind when we remove them from the Earth? Does it make sense that we keep removing stuff from deep within the planet in huge amounts and there is no negative consequence. I'm no rocket surgeon, but I seem to remember that Nature abhors a vacuum. And if scarcity and collection aren't disasters enough, when we burn them we create poison.
We all feel helpless and guilty about the energy crisis. After all, what can one person do? How about
- Wash clothes in cold water. You don't need hot water for that. Really.
- Insulate your house. Plug the holes. Weather strip
- Replace your dead appliances with energy efficient, hopefully solar new ones.
- Cut out unnecessary trips. Take the bus. Walk.
- Don't run your dishwasher unless that puppy's full.
- Vent your attic
And stop thinking about how imperfect alternative energy is. Even without a battery, we can have a small wind turbine on the roof that creates electricity we use first - before we tap into the grid. Solar water heaters are hardly hippy technology anymore. We have to have a roof anyway, why not stick a couple of collectors up there. Maybe it wouldn't be enough to keep us completely free from the utility company, but it would make a dent.
Renewable energy isn't an all or nothing thing. It's not weird or unfeasible to cut down on the fossil fuel powered energy we use. It's ok to take a baby step. We just need to put one foot in front of the other and stop going backward.