When I think of an alternative, it implies that it’s a possibility but really not a necessity. For example, let’s say you want to go to the local grocery store to pick up a loaf of bread. You could take an SUV, a sub-compact, an electrical car, a scooter, a bicycle, a walk, a piggyback ride, a few skips, a crawl, a dance, a few hops…. The possibilities are endless. You indeed have many alternatives.
Now let’s say you’re a plant and you’re feeling a little weak in the stems. What do you do? Your life’s purpose is to grow, produce oxygen, and depending on your species, sacrifice your life for the fauna up the food chain. If you can’t get some sun, what are your alternative sources of energy? A bit of coal perhaps? How about some bitumen? Or natural gas?
“Dear Gaea no!” says Fern. “I sequester carbon from the air, I don’t eat the stuff. You put that sludge on me and I “photonically” suffocate. You might as well throw me in the trunk of a car with last season’s smelly hockey equipment and asphyxiate me.” Her long leaves quiver at the thought.
“No,” she continues. “I can’t live without the sun. Even the stone-aged people understood that we must Let The Sunshine In. Even bugs from the 60’s knew that a Good Day Has Sunshine. Even people who can’t see the full beauty of the sun can feel it in their soul and know that our precious star is The Sunshine Of Their Life.”
Hmm….There’s a bit of wisdom in that there plant. So what’s our excuse?
We know that earth, Gaia, would turn into a lifeless rock without her hot friend. We know that she would eventually turn into a huge ice ball as she slowly cools to a stable -400 ℉. We know that no matter how much fossil fuel we dig up and burn as an alternative form of heat trying to stay warm, we’d be peeing icicles at best. Geothermal might keep a few of us alive a little longer, but the prospects for life on the planet are pretty grim.
“Hear hear,” agrees Fern. “I’d be dead in 2 weeks.”
So I think what we have is a case of mistaken identity.
Solar power is not an alternative energy. Fossil fuel is.
Our global mindset is acting as a psychological barrier to harnessing the power our world was perfectly designed for. As long as we think of solar as an “alternative” it will NEVER get the respect it deserves. We will continue to find excuses for why we couldn’t possibly power the whole planet on solar energy. It’s a matter of re-branding it as the powerhouse that it really is. Time to re-frame our mind.
If we want to stop the planet from heating up, let’s not look for ways to deflect more sun up into the atmosphere (like putting mirrors into space to reflect the sun), let’s transform the excess heat into energy to power our cars, lights, electronics, heaters, air conditioning, the internet, and other fun toys 😉 … and stop giving centre stage to what should really be considered alternative energy— fossil fuel.
Can I hear a Bamm-Bamm-Bamm?
Sun by Roxweb via Flickr Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.