Of all the energy sources powering the blogosphere, dissatisfaction with the status quo ranks pretty high. From carefully constructed criticism to ad hoc rants, blogs complain about where we are, where we were, and where we're headed. Often as not, the blogger thinks that by calling out some flaw, highlighting a problem, readers might be inspired to change their minds, maybe even take positive action. But the status quo is one hell of a grindstone, and while a brilliant critique may nick it, more often the critic is worn down. Once in a great while, some random or sudden event may lead to change, but more often it is action, collective and directed and occurring in the non-cyber world, that re-shapes the monolith.
The ways we power our society, by burning fossil fuel and by coaxing electrons from rivers or water, wind, and photons, has been a recurring subject here at Mojourner Truth. Sometimes, I've argued against continuing to rely on oil and coal, but of my small audience, I have a feeling that many agree already, and doubt that my words pulled anyone off the grid. Other times, I've extolled the virtues of renewable energy and low-tech efficiencies, but how many people have a heatilator? Blogging is impotence, published.
Recently, though, I actually took action that may make a real difference. For the past year, I've gotten a small block of my energy from renewables. The utility offers you the opportunity to purchase your energy just from wind, hydro, solar, and reclaimed methane, $4 at a time. A month or two ago, I switched to 100% renewable. It costs marginally more, but since I'm not much of a power consumer (no air conditioner, no TV, and a near-Ludditic reliance on muscle-powered gear rather than electro-gadgets), electricity overall is a minor part of my cost of living.
I am not quite so green as Ed Begley in that Simpsons episode where he speeds off in a car "powered by my own sense of self-satisfaction," but my 100% renewable electricity does have me feeling pretty smug. And the more people who do this, the less incentive industry has to drill and frack up the earth. I don't share many Americans' belief in the magic of The Market, but I do understand that changes in consumer choice affect what's for sale, and if we collectively choose renewable energy (imperfect as it may be), maybe a mountain in West Virginia doesn't get flattened, maybe a midwest aquifer won't be pumped full of frack-chemicals, maybe the climate will stabilize.
An extra 1.25 cents per kilowatt-hour buys me this non-fossil energy. The energy company says that for a typical house, the environmental benefit is equivalent to taking a car off the road. But there's also no military cost to using power that is 100% domestic. It's a small act, but it's meaningful, and in aggregate, it will help shift us away from our dangerous reliance on oil, gas, and coal that are killing us and ruining the earth for our progeny.
If you live on the Puget Sound Energy Company grid, the way to do this is here. Everywhere else, just do a search on "green power" plus your local utility.