This is an exciting time for me, at the tender age of 79, having the opportunity to delve into this new medium of communication and education. It’s just fantastic.
Over the last fifty or so years mankind has seen amazing changes. Those changes have occurred because the human race has found new and exciting new ways to harness energy, and then to use that energy to advance technology to bring ourselves truly marvelous things. Unfortunately, that great quest for energy and new gizmos has come at a high price. Over the last several decades we have found ways to vastly increase our agricultural outputs, through what was termed the green revolution, adding chemical fertilizers and pesticides to our crop lands. Through those advances we have made great strides in feeding the hungry all over the world. We also learned that some of those advances fouled our air and water and caused many of the people exposed to the chemicals many health problems.
We have harnessed the incredible energy of coal and natural gas to help build a world filled with wonders based on electricity. With that energy, the western world has built an amazing economy that has helped bring many nations standards of living well beyond what their grandparents could even dream about. The cost for that? Acid rain, more fouled water, and air that is literally toxic in some areas.
I myself am a recipient of a life-saving liver transplant. Medical technology, literally, saved my life and I have no words that can ever thank the doctors, nurses, medical specialists and above all the wonderful person who chose to donate their organs so that others might live. I know of no greater thing any of us can do than to sign up as an organ donor. I also know that health care costs have skyrocketed and getting good, affordable health care is difficult for many, and impossible for some.
We must learn from the bad as well as the good, and one particular instance has shown me this. A few years ago the Northeastern US lost power due to a failure of our electrical grid system. It was a simple human error in Ohio, but it had wide-ranging implications for hundreds of miles, causing millions of people to lose power. Living on top of a mountain in California and knowing from all of California’s problems how precarious our own energy situation could be I began looking for alternatives. I was able to set up my well system to run off solar power. This was a vital first step, not only for me being sure I could get water to my home in case of a power outage. It was also important to our local fire department, since my wells feed the primary fire hydrant for our area.
As we started down the solar road, I was approached by some folks who said they could use the same type of technology (photo voltaic solar panels) to power my home and office. The first group we worked with didn’t make it happen, but we kept with it, and now the sun provides power to my house, my office, and others on the grid as well.The incentives California gives for solar power make it absolutely crazy not to do. I went from $2,800.00 to $13.00 on my electric bill. With what I have done in my own home I expect to see the entire system paid off in about five years and the rest of my life my home will have virtually no power bill.
Now, not everyone can put in the gonzo array I did; however, we can all learn from the mistakes of the past and make positive differences right now and for the future. Compact florescent light bulbs in our homes and businesses make a tremendous difference in the amount of energy we all use. Less energy used equals less pollution generated. Learning more about the foods we eat and the fuels we use to power our economy will lead to better health, economically and physically. You’ll love that feeling you get from driving an electric car. We have the power to make changes every day.The only things any of us truly have in this world are the decisions we make. Take some advice from me live a life you love and love the life you live. Become knowledgeable about what changes you can make in your daily lives. Our time is short to make these changes, but I’m heartened by the increased interest these last few years have brought.
We may just make it yet.
(This letter was written by Larry in 2011,
and we thought it was appropiate to leave it as is for posting on his website.)