[Cross-posted at The Left Coaster.]
They’re really beautiful. I had greatly admired a small grove of them that had always been there, but many years ago through voter referendum the many thousands of small windmills that killed birds and gave the appearance of noxious man-weeds over Altamont pass were voted out in favor of the currently massive turns of grace, such huge examples of marvelous engineering blending so coherently in the smooth hills.
Some of my people are in Brentwood and I travel Vasco road fairly often, it has been cheering in these times to see the new windmills go up. They represent beauty and grace, of course, but so much more, a real vision and tangibility to a future of clean renewable electrons. At least 150 meters high and painted white, I wish my friend Jerome a Paris could see them, that the new electron revolution is here—starting too slowly, I know, dude—but that we Americans still know a way forward.
On the fine view of the patio where I would take things in (Brentwood still abounds with rabbits, turkeys, doves, quail and foxes, their sounds at dawn are enchanting) I noticed the square Teutonic symmetry of the roofing for that new housing development, the concrete shakes lending themselves to perfect lines and rigid conformity of shape everywhere. The corn is already 10 inches high on the outskirts of town, smooth Delta winds and California sunshine bathing cherry and apricot groves, but utterly wasted where the folks and those perfect roofs live.
How many billions of amperes go to waste every day on those new roofs? Those new homes have heating and cooling systems, electrical and plumbing too, but somehow we forgot the tens of thousands (over the house’s lifetime) of dollars worth of amperes just sitting there on the roof, waiting only solar panels to soak them in.
Well, we saw our mistake with the old windmills and are tearing them down, there’s no reason we shouldn’t make it totally senseless from a homeowner standpoint not to retrofit a roof with solar panels. In fact two of the roofs in that Brentwood housing development have been retrofitted for our future of electrons. We need them for our electric cars, this country is going off gasoline.
Well, I’ve been fringed. Instantly marginalized as some greenie with a beard and pot leaves weaved into his backpack, I guess, I really have no idea, spouting some utopian future of cleanliness and petroleum peace. Slot me, baby, that 15% of the Democratic Party classified as Environmentalist, you know, people and stuff we pay attention to but somehow never following through or committing to. Got a war on, you know?
Jesus on his electron scooter with the neon blinkers how utterly lost and foolish, I truly do not know which bothers me more, the ridiculous classification of my views as hippie fringe or that the environment is something we can always shove to the back of our tax-cut safety-net-cut agenda.
I am a middle-class, conformist white boy American schmuck with a degree and service record, about as fringe as the Oakland A’s. Was a time when the environment could be ignored, it doesn’t vote, contribute or fight back, but now global warming is with us. Climate change. Real change.
Our planet is warming dramatically and will crush us (Hurricane Sandy, anyone?) if we don’t get off gasoline. Not one god damn Californian alive is willing to look at their grandchildren in the face and say, sorry, we can’t grow wine or go skiing here anymore because we loved our smog machines. Even though we had the answers right in our hands we fried the place into an oblivion none of us recognize, stupidity and greed were our gods and our souls, not the lives of our children or planet.
Oh yeah, tell me that’s fringe, hippie or foolishly green utopia, what total horseshit the marginalization of environmental issues are. Look at our kids and tell me we’re not stewards of their future, how is that somehow less of a priority than Afghanistan? What about all the heavenly employment we could get from converting to solar and electric cars?
Well, words can only do so much. My suggestion, if somehow possible, is to walk and be among the new windmills at Altamont Pass or Palm Springs. There one can find such breathtaking beauty and grace, yes, but far more importantly a tangible reality of our urgent immediate need and future, a place of easy clean electrons and no gasoline. That is our total future, yapping fossils who cling to gasoline soon to be marginalized themselves.