|Design / Build for the Post Fossil Fuel Era...||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Erika Lockhart (fiatgirlgmail.com)|
|Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2007 15:57:22 -0700 (PDT)|
With regard to alternative energy sources, prices will come down with more demand; however, it will probably fall to those more easily able to afford the upfront costs during the transition, which will in turn drive a reduction in price. Fortunately, those able to do so will realize savings down the road, and I believe everyone building should take a hard look at how solar, wind and other technologies can benefit them by reducing monthly costs over time, which is a large part of what retiring people should be concerned with. The bottom line is really how much choice we are given in directing our own resources. The burden of government, in terms of regulating how we can live together and in terms of its ever-growing cost, will continue to negatively influence choice in these matters. Plus, one cannot begin to make a large impact unless he or she has started to make easily available choices like recycling, composting, using fewer and/or less environmentally hazardous cleaners and solvents, driving less, etc. While I'm all for using composting toilets, re-using grey water, solar, etc., my own particular co-housing partners are less educated and less willing to invest, so it will all be a compromise. As someone at work who is continually re-sorting the garbage, recycling and composting bins at work, and seeing that the attitudes of most people run towards complete disregard of these things as a priority, I look at my role as one of "making a difference where I can". Still, I was brought up to think this way; others must come around to it in another manner. For the most part, I think that most people will be convinced to "tread lightly on the earth" when it can be shown to them that is economically beneficial to do so. People make choices based upon what they can afford, and on their economic outlook for the future. I see declining incomes relative to costs, and a poor economic outlook in terms of rising taxation and fuel costs, and even I must make choices accordingly. I may need to go to Macy's to buy a $400 suit for work, but in my off time, I'm wearing sweat pants from Costco, Target or WalMart, and I won't apologize for this because these choices are helping protect my ability to support myself in retirement, and pay my mortgage in the meantime. I go to Macy's for the suit because I can't find a suitable alternative from someone local in the amount of time I have left after working two jobs to support myself. Then I see that our governor (California) wants to use state taxes to subsidize 1 million solar homes by the year 20??, homes that I will never be able to afford, yet will be paying for in taxes. The regulations with regard to "rebates" for solar installations prohibit or reduce reimbursement for people who (1) live "off the grid", or (2) install systems themselves. In addition, a sweetheart deal with PG&E, a major utility in California, allows them to take, without compensation, any power produced by an individual that is not used by them within a period of a year, and rebates are limited to installations by companies on an "approved" list. Pork, pork, pork. It's all a trade off. It's fine to say that "I must live in a completely green community for less than $100,000", but it will never happen unless it is economically feasible, or the government takes from others to enforce an arbitrary standard. In the meantime, kudos to those who do their best to live an environmentally friendly life, even in small things. Think globally, act locally - teach your children - move somewhere unspoiled and do your best not to spoil it...I'm there, as much as I can afford! Erika -- Erika A. Lockhart, CFI Fire Investigator Fire Cause Analysis 935 Pardee St. Berkeley, CA 94710 Ph: 800.726.5939 Fax: 510-649-3099 Cell: 415-640-0749 Reply to e-mail: Erika.Lockhart [at] fcafire.com
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