I overheard my boss the other day on the phone with a survey taker. The caller had asked him about renewable energy. He chuckled as he related his views. He is totally against electric cars. He pointed out that electricity is created by what? By ripping coal out of the ground? Stripping the environment of all life, and leaving behind a horrible gash in the earth. On top of all that, people die in coal mines. He is entitled to his views. The truth is, not all electricity is generated by coal. You could get it by capturing solar rays on panels, or you could use the wind to generate power.
In the 70's when I visited the desert country of Israel I noticed a cylindrical shaped object on top of nearly every residence. When I asked what it was I was told it was part of the system for solar energy. I marveled at what a commitment they had made to move toward renewal resources. Would that the United States had made the same commitment forty years ago. Even now, with the tax credit and everything, I can't make solar energy a reality at my home. The lowest quote I got was ten thousand dollars to install solar panels and make them work. It would increase the value of the home by ten thousand at least, however, if I want to live in the home, I would have to stay there thirty years before my energy saving were even a wash. It's very disappointing.
There are books on greening. If you are handy and own a lot of tools I heartily recommend you install a home windmill, solar panels, or buy a generator in order to live off of the grid. For a single, middle aged lady like myself, I am at the mercy of general contractors and future generators. If the developers of today are willing to start building green homes from now on we will all be doing so much better forty years from now.
In the 70's we also heard a lot of stories about the population doubling. One popular poster had a picture of a people so jammed together they could hardly stand and the caption said "By the year 2000 we'll all be standing on each other's toes!" While we are not exactly that crammed together, we did manage to double the population. This despite China's Draconian one child policy. Just imagine how many more people there would be right now if they had not taken such a hard line view toward the matter. The gross over population is certainly the root of so many of today's problems such as: the loss of topsoil, the scarcity of clean water, the ocean dying, the disappearance of bees.
As Prince Charles of the United Kingdom so aptly pointed out, anything that is bad for our environment is ultimately bad for us as well. People can make much of the fact that he was never as charismatic as his former wife, Diana, however he did design a living space on an island he owns, where inhabitants may walk to work and live quite greenly. It's better for people on so many levels to live close to where they work. They spend less time commuting and more time with their families, more time on their hobbies. They consume less gas, and if they can walk or bike to work, they exercise more. There's less need for huge ugly parking lots, and more room for plants and gardens. When people are relaxed there is less road rage, less fatigue, less stress. Where people live face to face with each other, there is more of a common sense of pride and community.
Can the future generations save us? Are they willing, in light of this long recession, to make things less important that people? We wouldn't be here after all, if we had been good. The recession was caused, no doubt, by inflated prices, consumer irresponsibility, and the general loss of value. People replaced "value" i.e. and actual tangible product or service with image and marketing. For example, in lieu of having bank employees who were familiar with the bank products and able to explain them, most banks hired young, ill-educated, attractive young women to take deposits and cash checks. The manager, far from the Jimmy Stewart Its-a-Wonderful-life ilk, was a glorified teller who looked things up in the manual when pressed for procedure. The ads for said banks though, told a different story. Citibank would show happy helpful employees taking deposits out to the car so that the tired commuter didn't have to unbuckle a child from the car seat. A wonderful image, no where grounded in fact.
How did stores manage to under price everyone? By under paying employees, fixing shifts so that no one qualified for the benefits they advertised having and getting rid of anyone who lasts long enough to make a few raises. Gone are the days when a person exiting high school with a diploma can find a job that will support a family of four and retire with a pension. The problem is, the enemy is us. If administrative professionals were willing to value employees with knowledge, instead of firing people who have made raises, a company might provide better service. Employees who own stock in a company have a vested interest in seeing the company do well. Compare that attitude to the feelings of someone part time at minimum wage, and you can totally understand why employees steal erasers, pens, staplers and paper.
Will the entrepreneurs of today treat their employees better? Will they realize the importance of selling an actual product? Or will they continue the long history of selling images and ideas. . . .Ask anyone who has tried to support themselves selling Avon or Amway, is there an actual product? Or aren't you just encouraged to sign up another monkey, because enough monkeys in a downline equals profit increasing geometrically.