Sunset at Laguna Beach, Ca
Does the planet need saving?
You may ask. The planet? Not so much, but humanity? Of course! If you believe the overwhelming opinion of scientists, the answer is obvious: global warming represents an unprecedented level of threat to human life. Unlike the hazard nuclear weapons represent, business as usual is enough to assure destruction through the disastrous consequences of cumulated global atmospheric emissions. Inaction is not an option as it will only guarantee such devastation. In fact, many scientists now believe that we are fast approaching an irreversible point in time beyond which humanity will be unable to reverse, stop or even limit global climate change’s catastrophic effects. This is no exaggeration and the danger facing us cannot be overstated. As I write this, hurricane Harvey is pounding the city of Houston and all southeast Texas with unprecedented levels of flood, while halfway across the globe, people, aid agencies and governments are battling a severe drought condition that could lead to yet another famine in the East African region.
Every positive action counts
But then what can you do about it? The problem seems too overwhelming to even rationally think that one person can do something impactful. This cannot be far from the truth as the likely solution will take the cumulated and sustained actions of everyone, however small. The effects of global warming know no state or national boundaries. Similarly, every local positive step to address this problem is also a contribution to the global fight. Everyone can join the fight to limit, stop and maybe even reverse these effects. In short, pollution in Beijing is a threat to the whole humanity. Similarly, a household going solar in Los Angeles is a step in the right direction to save our future.
We have the technology to solve this but we need bold and fast action
There is no question that today’s technology has the means to come to our rescue. Humanity created the conditions of its own downfall. But Humanity can also save itself, from itself, provided we act with purpose, vision, determination and unity. Short-sighted, self-serving, fear-based impulses to retract back to tribal, ethnic, racial or even national supremacist views and policies can only accelerate our downfall as a specie. What is needed is an understanding of the globalized world we live in combined with a local focus on actions to address some of the most pressing challenges we face. We all are humans first. If we don’t fight to preserve the conditions that sustain human life on this planet then what good does anything else do?
Support Solar, Wind and Hydro-power technologies
Solar, wind and hydro-power are the main technological tools that humanity currently has at its disposal to combat climate change. Already, specific groups, such as US homeowners, have the means to combat climate change at their level by installing solar on their roofs. These technologies are already mature, affordable and can save money while letting us contribute to this global fight for our future. Protectionist tariffs on solar products, opposition to environmentally friendly regulations by some interest groups (usually related to incumbent traditional power producers), general misinformation about green energy or climate change are all tantamount to crimes against our future. The fight against climate change should have no political or other partisan division the same way saving people in imminent danger should appeal to our inner-most fundamental truth: our shared humanity.
Let’s install solar and wind power wherever it makes economic sense. Let’s keep pushing for sensible environmental protection, sustainable energy sources, affordable advanced energy storage solutions and regulations that can positively contribute to the betterment for this planet. We already have most of the technological solutions we need. Let’s save ourselves from assured destruction. We are in this together and the time is now! Let us all act before it is truly too late.
Andenet Alemu, PhD
Senior Solar Consultant, PMax Solar Inc.