Imagine living where all the hard working citizens unnecessarily export almost $15 billion of their hard earned money out of state each and every year. Imagine what those folks could do with it if they kept that money right where they live: a better standard of living for all, better services and more local jobs to be sure. Of course, the folks I’m talking about are us.
According to a Wisconsin State Energy Office report that’s what we spend every year on the fossil fuels we heat and light our homes and fill our car’s gas tanks with — resources we don’t have and must import. Most of it is spent on transportation. Sadly, we are also buying mercury polluted lakes, oil pipeline leaks and tanker spills that foul our soils and waters, we get asthma and other health problems and dangerous explosions like the one in Superior in April. And most importantly, we get a changing climate that is already causing great suffering and destabilizing life all over this planet.
Our attempt at a solution is to drive a fairly inexpensive, used, plug-in hybrid, trading gasoline for electricity and greatly diminishing our contribution to the torrent of cash leaving Wisconsin. And investing in rooftop solar to produce our own electricity means largely exchanging our expensive and polluting coal and natural gas imports for free sunshine, a clean energy source Wisconsin actually has quite a bit of. We now drive on good old Wisconsin sunshine.
By shifting to renewable energy we can plug the hole in our fiscal dyke, reduce the pollution that degrades our health and our environment and, at the same time, stabilize our climate. Common sense alone should encourage our embrace of renewable energy and electric cars.
“Climate change is arguably the defining challenge of our lifetime.” With these words, NOVA sets the stage for not only a vitally important video but also for the beginnings of a discussion about what you and I can do about it in both our personal and political lives.
The local Citizen’s Climate Lobby Chapter will show the PBS documentary “Decoding the Weather Machine” at the YWCA (613 N. Fifth St. in Wausau) at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15. This is an excellent program that zeros in on our changing climate as increasing heat and drought, flooding, forest fires and rising sea levels threaten people all over the world.
In addition, the folks at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association and North Wind Renewable Energy are offering Solar Power Hours and group buy incentives for folks who want to produce their own clean solar electricity. Check their schedule out for a meeting near you.
Be part of the discussion and then be part of the solution.
Dan Barth, Mosinee
Editor’s note: The views of our readers are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot and Review. To submit a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to P.O. Box 532, Wausau, Wis., 54402-0532.