Have you heard about what’s going on in California? Pacific Gas & Electric, in their infinite wisdom–or greed, depending on one’s perspective–deemed it important to cut off millions of people from electricity. The company noted that it was held liable for the fires last year, sparked by high winds knocking down poles that sparked wildfires. They didn’t want that to happen again. “Fire mitigation measures.” “Planned.” The lights went out and the traffic signals. Schools and government buildings shut down. The economic impact on the economy could cost upwards of $2.5 billion.1
Oops. PG&E apologizes but they put safety before “hardship for everyone”.2 Finally! Unfortunately, they were unprepared for the consequences. Their website crashed several times. Their maps are inconsistent and maybe incorrect. Their call centers were overloaded.3 One might suggest that’s inexcusable. California Governor Gavin Newsom has pointed out that the “proactive power outages are the result of ‘greed and neglect’ by PG&E.”4
Which brings me to a point made at the beginning of these Friday posts on energy. (See Energy 103: Demand Response.) What is going on in California is what’s going to happen throughout the US of A if we don’t start now to upgrade and adapt our infrastructure to be less dependent (read “not at all”) on fossil fuels. To make a massive investment in renewables and storage. And create micro-grids so that, if one grid goes down, millions and millions of people are not out of power. The progressive agenda being put forward sounds a bit over the top . . . but it’s the only thing that will save us as we head for the cliff.
Just a thought.
Carl and I are still tinkering with our little experiment in living off-grid with two electric vehicles. Yesterday, I took the Leaf to Peterborough. It had 28 miles left on its battery when I left. Upon my return, at the bottom of our driveway, I had a nail-biting 8 miles left. But I didn’t go into turtle mode!
This cutting edge happened in part because I wasn’t paying attention on the way to Peterborough. I took on a 21st century cavalier, I have 28 miles on the battery, I can make it no problem!
But I almost didn’t.
The demise of the fossil fuel industry. The rise of renewables. Our love of convenience. And climate change kind of forcing our hands. We are entering interesting times on all levels. Intra-, inter-, extra-personal. And I seem to be getting repetitive. Not a lot of new information. Teetering in the cra-cra of life, death and politics because it is crazy not to be doing something more than we, as a nation, are doing. Yet I can point a finger and three point back at me. Writing? Attempts at humor and oh-don’t-feel-bad-I-do-the-same-thing? We are all complicit, and we are all part of the solution. It’s time to jump off this very scary cliff.
Easy for me to say from where I sit in my eyrie.
“Visioning means imagining, at first generally and then with increasing specificity, what you really want.5 That is what you really want, not what someone has taught you to want, and not what you have learned to be willing to settle for. Visioning means taking off all the contrasts of assumed “feasibility,” of disbelief and past disappointments, and letting your mind dwell upon its most noble, uplifting, treasured dreams.”
Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, and Jorgen Sanders, Beyond Limits. Found in The Hard Work of Simple Living.
If we don’t start thinking big, really big, and allow for the changes that will result, what’s is happening in California will look like a day in a park on a sunny day. I’d rather plan with more foresight than did PG&E, wouldn’t you?
Have you called your representatives and senators lately? I haven’t. I will, though, today. After we bury Adele, our sweet white Leghorn hen. She liked to eat glinting, shiny things like staples and a screw.
5 (Um, to save the world and what’s left of its sentient creatures?)