No, We Cannot Ignore it and Hope it Goes Away

No, We Cannot Ignore it and Hope it Goes Away

Sometimes avoidance is an effective strategy.  The weather is bad. Stay inside for awhile and it will change.  You feel a little irritable.  Give it some time and you’ll feel better.  You have a disagreement.  Go apart and come back and all may be forgotten.

When I was studying engineering in college, sometimes I would get stuck on a problem.  I usually studied at a table in the dining room.  When I got stopped I often put my head down on my folded arms, closed my eyes and waited, sometimes dozing and sometimes just letting my mind wander.  After a bit, the thought I needed would pop in. I would sit up, pick up my pencil, and work through the problem.

That is NOT the right approach now.

The entire planet is warming, which causes changes in climate patterns such as the melting ice caps, rising sea levels, and Arctic winds escaping down into Texas. Those climate changes cause weather extremes – more frequent and more severe. We cannot use the “ignore it and it will go away” approach.

ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) tried to.  They knew the energy grid was not winterized after a similar crisis in 2011 but I guess they hoped the problem would just go away.  Instead, it came back with a vengeance.

Our home was one of the last 15,000 to get power back on in Texas.  5-1/2 days without power, heat, and light in freezing weather, another 30 hours with very intermittent phone, and almost 10 days until the Internet was working.  We don’t want to go through that again.

It’s time to face the realities that extreme weather is increasing. We need to be prepared as well as to address the causes:   the measurable, addressable causes of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and other heat-trapping emissions.

We don’t have to look at it only from a gloom and doom perspective. While valid, it can cause the “ignore it” approach. We can look for opportunities for reward and recognition to inspire and reinforce action.

We all play a role in reducing demand. Each organization as well as each City, neighborhood and household can make a difference by setting goals and achieving them.  Because the other cause of the grid meltdown in Texas was the extremely high demand.

There is no need for an either/or approach on the supply side – global energy demand continues to rise. There is plenty to do, including the ramp up of alternative energy sources and storage as well as to reduce, mitigate and counteract CO2 and CO2-equivalent emissions from existing sources. There is plenty of opportunity for innovation, new industries, and reward and recognition there too.

Creating a Balanced Energy Economy* can create a bright future for the planet and for us. Let’s get to it…. immediately. Let’s succeed together.

*A “Balanced Energy Economy” is described n the award-winning book “Beyond Light Bulbs: Lighting the Way to Smarter Energy Management.”