My buddy, the “old fart,” insists upon looking at the glass half full. When I question him about it, he insists that I look again. As he likes to remind us all, there are good people out there who never make the news and there are good things that happen that don’t make the headlines. This is certainly true, and in the spirit of the old fart’s pointing finger I have culled the Sierra Club magazine this month and pulled out the bits and pieces of good news about the things that are happening to protect our environment and help our planet to survive. I have skipped the bleak news as that only muddies the waters (no pun intended).
• Solar power is hot on the heels of fossil fuels. In 2013, residential, non-residential, and utility-scale solar installations in the United States added 4,863 megawatts of electricity to the nation’s generating capacity, second only to natural gas, at 6,861 megawatts. (Left in the dust, appropriately, was coal power at 1,507 megawatts.) Through the first half of 2014, 53 percent of all new electric capacity installed came from solar power.” [And this despite the fact that Big Oil gets the major subsidies from the U.S. government and solar and wind power get very little and must beg for what they get.]
•California banned single-use plastic bags. It is the first state to do so. [Taking the lead again, as usual.]
• Statoil, Norway’s national energy company, shelved its plans for a multibilion-dollar investment in Canada’s tar sands.
• President Barack Obama designated 350,000 acres of Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains as a new National Monument.
• The Massachusetts District Attorney dropped charges against climate activists who used a lobster boat to block a load of coal bound for the Brayton Point Power Plant because he said he agrees with the protesters.
• More than 400,000 people in New York City joined the People’s Climate March, the largest such demonstration ever.
• Another major investment company has emerged, the New Alternatives Fund, that encourages people to invest in solar and wind power exclusively, investments that have been extremely profitable for folks like T. Boone Pickens, Warren Buffet, and Al Gore. [One wonders if and when Big Oil will climb on board. The train is picking up speed.]
• Denmark supplies three out of four of the world’s offshore wind turbines and is on track to be free of fossil fuels by 2050.
Happy New Year to all and to all a good night!! (And thanks, BTG, for being so positive in a world that drags so many of us down.)
it’s great to see good and happy news, and it’s too bad that most periodicals focus on the problem issues and not the good things in this world. thank you for taking the time to share the best of the sierra club’s good news!
Hugh, thanks for sharing and placating my pollyannish bent that exists. These are excellent stories and, if you don’t mind, I might share a few with due credit to the source.
I saw a report last night that noted the continued fall in gas prices is not just to supply glut, but echoed what you, Barney and I have been touting regarding reduced demand – better mpg cars/ trucks are being bought, decline in percent of young new drivers, people retiring to urban areas with mass transit and people using alternative forms of commuting – bikes, walking.
Thanks for your many and varied contribution to our blogging world. I hope more people are paying attention to your words, as they should be. Happy New Year. BTG
Thanks for the input, BTG. As far as my readers are concerned, I think I can count them on one hand! But I write to help clarify my thoughts, and appreciate folks like you who take the time to read them and comment! Have a Happy New Year!
My pleasure. It is hard to sell context in a twitter world. Maybe, one of your former colleagues could send students your way for required reading. Best wishes, BTG
That has happened a few times, but the kids read a couple, write a few comments as a class exercise and then go back to their ipads! Take care.