Man or Planet?

As we all “celebrate”  #EarthDay here are some questions to ponder:

  • Oil or sun?
  • Gas or electric?
  • Surf or turf?
  • Polarize or attract?
  • Man made or natural?

And now, the perspective…

Oil or Sun?  Will big oil and natural gas continue to be the fuel of choice?  Probably for awhile if only for the pure inertia over the last 100 years.  If we were to level the playing field by adding a national carbon, air pollution or asthma tax to fossil fuels, the free market would immediately choose renewables over fossil fuels.  In the interim, eliminating tax incentives for mature industries (e.g. oil, coal and gas) and leaving them in for renewables (e.g. solar and wind) would ease the unfair advantage of polluting fuels.

Gas or Electric?  Will gas vehicles or electric vehicles dominate transportation?  In most cities, mass transit and electric vehicles are already becoming the de facto winner for cost and convenience.  Since most people commute less than 35 miles a day and 90% commute under 80 miles a day, EVs are the clear winner already.  My wife and I each had our own car, then opted to change to a pool car mentality when we got our first EV.  Now, the second (gas car) is rarely used, we have virtually eliminated visits to the pump, the smog station and the mechanic.  We plug in every night and our electric bill has only gone up a few bucks a month while the gas and maintenance bills have been virtually eliminated.

Surf or Turf?  With prolonged #droughts and many communities literally running out of drinking water, will we ignore lakes, streams and agriculture or stick with turf as the battles over “water rights” heat up?  I live in a HOA, like many others, so there’s a lot of pressure to keep consistency and curb appeal.  But, we simply couldn’t ignore our responsibilities (and rising water bills) any longer.  Last year, my wife and I replaced our front lawn with beautiful flowering native plants.  Our water bill instantly dropped 40%.  In San Diego County, where we live, 66% of all water goes to single family dwellings like ours.  In California, we are tasked with cutting water use by 25%.  Cutting 40% from 66% of all water use yields 26.4% water savings immediately.  The county water authority, like many others in the US, is considering billions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades for water recycling plants.  So, before increasing taxes, wouldn’t it be more prudent to incentivize homeowners to replace their water hungry lawns with natives first?  This would instantly eliminate 40 – 70% of domestic water waste, create local jobs and create beautiful natural habitats.

Polarize or Attract?  Will big media and big government (e.g. U.S. Congress) continue to polarize all politics as either far left or far right, or will Americans realize we have far more in common than we do different?  Perhaps we can instead focus on the “greater good” and delay or set aside our self interests.  It’s easier to be wasteful, but far less expensive to conserve.  It’s easier to focus on our own needs, but far more rewarding to think about our brother’s needs.

Man Made or Natural?  Is #climate change “man made” or naturally occurring?  I think it’s an irrelevant question. Why?  Because if all these changes are not “man made”, we are “screwed” because then there’s nothing we can do about it.  Since we rely on this planet for – well – everything, perhaps we had better treat it a little better and stop laying waste to it so rapidly?  FWIW, with roughly 7 billion people now on the planet, driving internal combustion engines and using fossil power, wouldn’t it be impossible not to have a major impact?

Personally, I choose to be an optimist and keep doing my best to reduce my environmental impact.  I hope you will too!  Every Day.

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