“make the switch, repower america”

Tomorrow night, during the Olympics, the “We Can Solve It” campaign will begin airing the above ad. They may be over-simplifying things a bit, but, given the constraints of a 30-second spot, I think they’re hitting just the right tone for middle America… This isn’t about politics. This isn’t about one party winning or losing an election. It’s about coming together to do what we all know needs to be done.

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  1. Ol' E Cross
    Posted August 10, 2008 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    So, in both McCain and Obama ads, as well as in the switch commercial, I see the windmills rolling as the solution.

    A couple years back, I had a science prof explain to me how if we lined all of the great lakes with windmills, we’d create a bucket drop of the energy needed.

    Does anyone reading have any hard science understanding of how many windmills and solar panels we’d need to really accomplish 100 percent renewable energy goal and what reductions in consumption would have to partner in it?

    I like the goal, but does anyone know if it’s even close to feasible?

  2. mark
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t say “a drop in the bucket,” OEC, but it surely wouldn’t provide all the electricity we need, especially at today’s usage levels. But I’ve been told basically the same thing. Whatever we do, conservation is going to have to be a part of it. And, wind in itself won’t be the answer. We’ll have to have solar too. And any number of other things. It’s certainly not going to be as easy as throwing a switch. But it’s doable.

  3. Robert
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    I am certain that wind, hydro, solar and geothermal combined, and accessed and used efficiently, would provide a very significant portion of what we would need.

  4. Posted August 11, 2008 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    And that would need to be combined with a significant change in lifestyle to a much lower energy society. I saw a statistic that shook me — in the western world, a twenty-week old baby has already consumed more energy than many in the developing world use in a lifetime.

    But I think a lower energy world can be a great thing: people had meaningful, interesting, exciting lives before we drove everywhere, all the time. I am looking forward to more time, less cancer, more doing rather than watching, more biking rather than driving, more neighborhood relationships and less isolation, more gardening and less computing, more local food and fewer taste-free tomatoes, more making and less shopping, more awareness of nature and less numbness. Personally, that’s a world I’m interested in helping to create.

  5. egpenet
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    We need to generate MORE energy, not do with LESS.

    The American issue, and it’s especially true in Michigan, is that we are paying .08 to .11 cents per kwh while the rest of the world is cleaning up their environment with enrgy taxes on fuel and electricity and natural gas.

    THEY pay .35 to .45 per kwh … but that pays for the cleanup and penalizes waste. It ALSO helps the Europeans justify the installation of solar, wind and geothermal. At .35-.45 kwh the payback is only one to three years. PLUS there are subsidies and other incentives to do so.

    We are not paying ENOUGH for the power or water or other services we have available. We are content to pollute and to ignore the rest of the world. They are NOT suffering. They have clean environments and “greener” lifestyles WITHOUT doing without. They have MORE as a result, meanwhile we sit here arguing about how to do with LESS. Aren’t we silly.

    At .08 to .11 kwh, payback for a solar roof in the USA is 40-60 years on a public building, 20-30 on a private residence, MAYBE if your area has tax incentives. Remember, that’s versus a possible one year payback in Europe.

    This is why 95% of the solar panels, fabrics and other materials made in the USA are being sold abroad.

  6. heronblue
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of conservation being part of the solution, Christina Snyder (green architect) did a terrific presentation on the “Zero Energy house” last nite in Ypsi at the Gilbert Residence. About 25 folks from around SE Michigan and Ypsi attended her talk.

    Christina Snyder is an architect and principal of Sustainable Spaces, where she specializes in appropriate architecture, such as passive solar design, natural building materials and systems.
    She is an adjunct professor (at Lawrence Tech. U.) to the first and second place winning student teams in the first Michigan Zero Energy Home Competition.

    I found her discussion of ‘superinsulation’ and this applied to old housing retrofits particularly interesting. sure sounded like that was one way of changing the normal joe’s energy requirments.

    Her husband, a solar and wind energy equipment supplier spoke about the feasibility of both wind and solar for residential use in Michigan and its advantages/disadvantages as well as impediments posed by utilities and current regulations. A very interesting presentation.

  7. heronblue
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Oh, yeh, I liked the ad too Mark!

  8. egpenet
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    It’s a feel-good ad … but it doesn’t spell out the cost/benefit … reliable energy that costs more but which pays for the clean up. Solar is NOT free, nor is geothermal, nor wind.

    And nothing happened when they flipped the switch. Hmmm.

  9. heronblue
    Posted August 12, 2008 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Mark, I know you loved the “superstar” ads hitting on Obama – apparently here’s an Obama strikes back……http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1185304443/bctid1721792723

    BTW I can appreciate your being “tired of blogging” for a while. I admire your putting yourself out there despite what gets dished your way. It has to be tiring sometimes.

    I was thinking of doing a blog for ‘the house’ as we try to do a community venture between two houses and one shared organic garden. It could however just be a logging of embarrassing moments, snafu’s, failures and community communication mishaps, LOL. I decided I’m not sure I have your nerve and guts… probably am too thin skinned to just have it out there in public for comment from just anyone.

    So, anyhooo- my way of saying thank you for creating a blog that’s become kindof a community center… and for being able to take the heat, slings and arrows! not everyone could do that, and take it all in stride. being my tolerant self, I’d probably be booting people off right and left…. ; )

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