This is a time of momentous change, the kind of historically-significant, mind-altering transition that shapes the entire world far into the future. This week, it came to Las Vegas cleverly disguised as the National Clean Energy Summit 5.0: Power of Choice. Tuesday’s summit was indeed about the Power of Choice, and our choices are more powerful than ever before. Do not take that lightly – the stakes have never been higher and your role has never been more important.
What are the Choices?
We can choose life, prosperity and good health; freedom, stability and security; along with social and economic justice. We can choose to create a world that sustains us and the entire web of life upon which we depend for our very existence. All of this stems from a commitment to clean energy, energy efficiency and honest economic decision-making available to everyone right now.
We’ve all seen the effects of our changing climate. The process is now undeniably obvious and our most knowledgeable experts are now saying that previous impact estimates were much too tame. We know we must change: quickly, decisively and deeply, if we properly value life on this planet.
Failure to do so, commonly referred to as “business as usual” or sometimes “drill, baby, drill” is not an option. In fact it is not necessary, wise or even economically desirable. The ground is shifting beneath our feet and the momentous change now underway has begun to create untold opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs and citizens alike. The old guard, like the dinosaurs, will be left in the goo like an abandoned rig in the tar sands.
Efficiency First – Then Renewables
Efficiency comes first. It is the quickest, most cost-effective step we can take. Integrative building design can lower energy needs by 90% and deep-green retrofits almost as much. Ultra-light vehicles made from modern composites like carbon-fiber that are both stronger and safer, can vastly extend the range of electric drive systems. Both buildings and vehicles can then easily be powered with renewable sources of energy, often mounted directly on the roof. These and numerous other beneficial strategies make sense now using today’s technology with normally-acceptable rates of economic return. In other words, the free market is telling us that clean energy works!
During the National Clean Energy Summit in 2008, President Clinton challenged Nevadans to embrace a clean energy future by setting an example for the rest of the nation and the world. We have accomplished much in a few years and it is does not take much of an imagination to envision Nevada as the first carbon-neutral state in the U.S. That is a worthy and achievable goal.
Smart meters are the precursor to a smart grid. Renewable energy systems are being built at record speed. Green buildings are nearly mainstream. Electric vehicle options are increasingly available at local dealers. These trends are momentous.
A Good Sign
On the evening prior to the summit, I attended an electric vehicle rally and screening of “Revenge of the Electric Car” at UNLV. Director Chris Paine was on hand to answer questions about the film and the future of transportation. Chris’ films have been powerful instruments of change and I was excited about the event.
I drove there in a car powered with nothing more than sunlight harvested that morning on the roof. After decades of visits to the gas pump and expensive electric bills, momentous change feels really good. The Power of Choice is there for the taking. Do not miss it – Act now. See you at next year’s summit!