Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Clean Energy Nation

The garden is awesome right now. Fresh tomatoes, string beans, zucchini, lima beans, carrots, beets, onions, leeks, pumpkin and of course most herbs (basil, chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary etc). Even a few blueberries and a small second crop of strawberries. It is a problem of abundance. Carrots are good but carrot tops are too prolific to eat so freezing some.

I am not real keen on carrot tops although they "disappear" in most things in great quantity. It is easy to "disappear" a couple of cups in almost anything.

I love beet tops but they are not as prolific this year.

The photo is a volunteer squash in the compost. I fondly recall my brother Glen often had great volunteer squash in his manure pile when he lived on the farm.

I tend to avoid controversy so one of my time management rules is I do not do politics. So hoping this post is not too political.

I read a great book - Clean Energy Nation - Freeing America from the Tyranny of Fossil Fuels by Congressman Jerry McNerney Ph.D.

I have a deep history of environmental stuff. I started a recycling program at U of Waterloo in the 1980s. I started an environmental detergent company - Simply Clean. And my brothers and son are deep in the environment movement. Brother Glen started Skygeneration that sold to Sprott Energy (I count that as one of my successful exits this year even though Glen did all the work to make it happen). Brother Lyle runs a biodiesel refinery, taught it at a community college and wrote a book on biodiesel. And my son, David, runs Estill Energy, a solar company.

I drive a Prius. But I still fly lots and live in too large of a house. In Canada, I had solar on the house and was a net positive producer. I feel guilt for not doing more(if that helps)

Environment should not be a political issue. It just seems obvious. We should not destroy the planet. It should be the common goal that unites.

I smiled at the bumper sticker - "Earth First - We can destroy the other planets later". Of course it was on an SUV.

The book covers the history and stats of climate change. McNerney is a politician so he delves into the politics(which are appalling). He has a good chapter on Hubbard's peak( the time when we hit peak oil production).

There is a great chapter on energy and national security. Of course he is talking about the US when he says national. But much of it applies to Canada as well.

I also liked the chapter on public health. Over 50% of US electricity is produced by coal. On a personal note, I notice in NY, when I clean the inside of the car windshield, there is a black soot. Very unnatural.

What I have learned (from Simply Clean) is people are primarily economic driven - not "feel good" or "social good". This means for true change to happen, there needs to be the right policy. Tax energy use - do not subsidize it. I am discouraged by US politics and worry that no politician will be brave enough to do the right thing for the environment.

His prognosis is scary enough to make me consider building a better cabin on my property in Northern Ontario.

It is a worthwhile book. Read it.

I also read a book summary on Getabstract that ties in more of the practical of what a company can do called Earth, Inc. I like reading books but also love speed learning so often read Getabstracts.


At 3:22 AM, Blogger Gerhard Peters said...

I agree, environmental issues have become far too political as this book points out
The Real Global Warming Disaster: Is the Obsession with "Climate Change" Turning Out to Be the Most Costly Scientific Blunder in History?
by Christopher Booker


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