Knowledge is Power!
Alternative energy is an emotional topic, but regardless of our opinions, the laws of physics will determine the ultimate solutions. The engine of real social change is connecting real people to real information. Community members must have a solid idea of the central challenges and currently feasible solutions. For instance in England, wind power only has the potential to create about 40% of England's power needs if every available square inch of the land and sea surrounding the UK were used for wind power generation--every single available square inch! However after public opinion is considered (ie. "not in my backyard"), wind power at the current moment will only be able to be used to generate 2-5%. We must learn the real challenges!
I recently read a book by a British physicist called, "Sustainable Energy -- Without the Hot Air". Curiously, it was actually readable. However, the book brought up many disturbing issues I had never considered. For instance, it turns out the most abundant and immediately accessible resource is nuclear energy which isn't necessarily renewable but has the highest potential to wean us off of fossil fuels in the near term. Yet none of us is excited about nuclear energy after the recent accidents.
Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of renewable energy. I even have my own windmill that powers my family's electricity needs and more. Yet, I have discovered that renewable energy has quite a bit of hype and hot air. There are solutions, but they are not as simplistic as we've been led to believe. However, I believe the real data can be understood and communicated clearly along with the real challenges.
We just need better information packaged in more understandable, bite-sized pieces. When we can clearly explain the real challenges to a 10 year old, we will be ready to educate our communities. The kids in the photo are learning to program a microprocessor. That may seem quite advanced for a child of 10 years, but I've learned that most anyone can learn something as long as they're excited and presented with bite-sized morsels of information.
To get a start on your own education, check out the online version of the book I mentioned:
The example I mentioned can be found at this point in the book:
We need to repackage information such as in the book I mentioned and boil it down for real people without all the political and commercial hot air! Let's find the real information, make it exciting, and discover how to teach it to a 10 year old. Then we'll be ready to help our communities make that rapid transition to renewables.