by Bill Hennessey
The pace of climate change is increasing faster than predictions, while U.S. action to slow it down has crept to a crawl.
The economy, the economy! That’s all that matters. Economic stimulus and tax breaks have been selected to bring our spending and lifestyles back to the fifties. And yet, over time, unless we change our economic premise and acknowledge a world of limits, both these options and all others will leave us broken in spirit, health and wealth.
What the solutions fail to acknowledge is that we are living on one planet with finite resources. We look at the basics—annually, Americans consume 25 percent of the world’s energy, while accounting for five percent of the world’s population. Unless we keep the majority of the world in energy poverty, our culture is not sustainable, nor has it been without the drawdown of our 200 million-year-old carbon fuel sup- plies of coal, oil and natural gas..
A new administration recognizes climate change, but change through politics moves glacially from the world, to our country, to the Lehigh Valley to us. Though difficult at best, we always have the power to change ourselves, sidestepping the politi- cal process.
If we accept we are a nation addicted to fossil fuel, then managing our addic- tion is the best we can do. There is no cure. What Alcoholics Anonymous has taught is that folks manage their addictive personalities better when they align themselves with a support group.
The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association offers that opportunity. A group of mostly volunteers, who stumble and slip with regularity, we strive to main- tain our vision through our nonprofit, educational organization.
As we begin our fifth year, MAREA offers free monthly programs to raise awareness of renewable and sustainable issues. These meetings, held on the last Tues- day of the month, are a great way to meet like-minded citizens.
This year MAREA is planning four solar water heater workshops for a Hab- itat-for-Humanity project in Reading. We are working with smaller colleges in the Valley, helping students increase their experience with photovoltaic energy and we have partnered with Nolde Forest in Berks County to place household energy-saving kits in each Berks County library.
MAREA’s initial sunflower-seed-to-fuel project was a success last year and
we are adding field day and grower programs, with the hope of forming an informal grower’s oilseed fuel cooperative. When the state announces its rebate program later this spring, we’re planning informational sessions for solar hot water heating and photovoltaic energy.
We are adding a second website to focus on year-round sustainable and renew- able educational activities, while our original site will cover the festival.
This fall, MAREA will be hosting its fifth annual Pennsylvania Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Festival. Last year, some 10,000 persons attended the three-day event in Kempton.
Share your vision of a more compassionate future and join us.
Bill is executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association
More Voices of the Valley from Sustainable Lehigh Valley.
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