GRID Alternatives Solarthon: a mega-strategic initiative

You may know from my post on hiking that I value the idea of a strategic initiative, taking one action that affects many areas at once. George Lakoff, in Don’t Think of an Elephant,¬†notes that focusing on alternative energy is a powerful strategic initiative, because it affects not just energy and sustainability but a host of other areas, such as jobs, health, the environment, foreign policy, developing countries, and more. This is a major reason I’m drawn to alternative energy; it gives a lot of bang for the buck, and it deals with the most urgent issues facing humanity today. Continue reading “GRID Alternatives Solarthon: a mega-strategic initiative”

Hope and the city: the fine art of community-building

What is community, and how do we encourage it? However we answer those questions, I think most people would agree that it’s lacking in our culture, with its emphasis on the individual. Whether we live in cities, small towns, or suburbs, it’s increasingly rare for Americans to feel a real sense of community. It stands out to me out when I hear someone describe their neighborhood as a nurturing, close community; while such pockets exist, they are not the norm. Continue reading “Hope and the city: the fine art of community-building”

Condoizing solar, part 2: off the grid

Last week I attended a “solar mixer” hosted by 1 Block Off the Grid (1BOG), a community-based program that helps people buy solar panels. By negotiating group discounts, they lower costs—and perhaps even more valuable is their help in sorting out all the confusing details that homeowners face when they attempt to go solar. They even help people deal with net metering, which allows you to feed power you generate back to PG&E when you’re not using it and then get it back at no charge when you need it. (That’s right, 1BOG is not technically about being off the grid, since that would require batteries—but you get the idea.) Continue reading “Condoizing solar, part 2: off the grid”