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Hello Elizabeth Licata,
I would just like to add to your insightful commentary that we HAVE alternatives to fossil fuels. At the turn of the twentieth century, all of Pasadena (CA) was passive solar. George Washington’s greenhouse utilized geothermal. We also know that strategically placed trees and windows and buildings can increase energy efficiency.
I know of at least one engineer who has devised attractive concrete slabs attached to a passive solar house to store energy. Small-scale regional or single building windmills that do not threaten bats and birds are also part of this mix, which could and should all be manufactured and maintained regionally while keeping inferior products not manufactured with the same quality control, safety, health, labor, and environmental regulations as ours out of the country.
The huge mistake Obama and DOE Secretary Chu have made is not purchasing from companies that the government subsidized all of these options as appropriate for government buildings. Those purchases generate demand and lower the price for the rest of us.
Their mistake stems from a lack of conviction and understanding of the real need for these alternatives. A DOE official told me that Chu has set the agency’s research on these alternatives back by at least twenty years because Chu prefers nuclear, by far the most expensive and dangerous source of energy. No less than ten billion dollars per plant subsidized and insured by taxpayers, plus problems of radiation exposure during operation and no place for the spent fuel, and for good reason.
In the context of gardening, there is a land war taking place in communities around the country. Shocking stories about local governments trespassing on private property to destroy gardens. I myself have been embroiled in a three-year struggle to maintain biodiverse, chemical-free, watershed-friendly yards while our local department of the environment stands silently by as neighbors all around me dump 2,4_D three days a week on their monocultured lawns. It is no wonder that local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay do not improve. The numerous watershed groups in my county in Maryland refuse to take a stand, which makes no sense to me. So many people are cowards, it is really sad. I have heard people talk about how much cooler it is on a hot day to walk down a street wheree all of the homes have Bay-friendly vegetation filling their yards. That makes sense.
Montgomery County, Maryland
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