Have the alternatives been exhausted? (After being exhaustively explored?)

Xcel Energy has one reasonable rationale for their proposed high-voltage power line through South Minneapolis, specifically the Phillips neighborhood, near Lake Street, at first glance: there has been growth, especially in institutions such as hospitals that use large amounts of energy and indisputably require reliable energy. Blackouts in hospitals are obviously a bad thing.

However, is putting through a new power line that’s just a continuation of the current energy-production regime the only option to provide reliable energy? In the face of climate change and fossil fuel depletion and economic challenges, is that the best system to perpetuate? What about being able to use less energy through efficiency measures, many of which are relatively easy, inexpensive and can be done by the large organizations as well as by individual households all around the area? What if there were a few solar panels on homes and small businesses? These options aren’t impossible, are they?

This might not provide all of the community’s energy, but could it possibly be a method in which the energy demand gap could be made up – and provide a basis so that more of the community’s energy could be produced in such manners in the future? Could it engage the community in working individually and collectively on their own energy? Are families,panaderias, groceries, hospitals, banks, churches, mosques, YWCAs and Scandinavian gift shops limited to being consumers of energy, disconnected from its mysterious production? Or, could they be a part of taking ownership of even a small part of what daily powers their homes and places of business, recreation and worship?

More fundamentally, what are the details of the increase in energy usage? What do the various individuals and organizations in the community think about their energy usage? Are some of them already employing energy efficiency materials? Is there any hidden interest in more energy efficiency and renewables that just haven’t found the opportunity to manifest itself? Could this be that opportunity?

Essentially, do we really know if the new power line is necessary if all these questions haven’t been answered? Can we find answers to a lot of these questions? What might those answers tell us about the necessity of the transmission line?

Itching for some solutions…

I’m itching for some solutions. My teachers are itching for solutions. My classmates are itching for solutions. Everyone is itching but can’t seem to find the spot.

These past five weeks I’ve been in a class called Energy Systems and Climate Change and have gotten to know an incredible amount of amazing people with unique perspectives on the state of the world. Many of them represent people I know outside of school and I usually spend most of my time day dreaming about how I can express my excitement in local solutions to the class. Ive tried the emotion draw of rebuilding communities, I’ve gone at it from an anti-authoritarian perspective by advocating for the elimination of government, and finally I tried talking about social capital and people as a part of complex interlocking systems, as a way to create self-sufficient communities.

But none of it has had its desired effect. The teachers destroy my poetic visions of local economies with local energy production by saying that it is impossible and will get us no where.

That stand has really highlighted the need for concrete examples and solutions to demonstrate the effectiveness of what we are trying to envision.

LETS GO CRAZY!

We have no time, we have negative time, stuff should have been done yesterday!

Summer of Solutions/Grand Aspirations is us. We are it. Our futures are so entwined that one cannot survive without the other! What is my identity? Am I even human anymore, if my soul is somewhere else shouldn’t my body follow? Live our dreams today so we can live them tomorrow. Who wants to sit on a train when you can steer it.

I send you all my love, and a belief that you can do TRULY AMAZING things everyday that empower people to take their lives into their own hands and help in creating the world that we want to live in!

With love from the rainy (but amazing) Pacific Northwest,

A person that cares about everything!

Journey along Salted Earth & Struggle

I don’t think that struggle, or having a struggle, is a sign of weakness. I think that struggling is, like so many other less sturdy things people associate with leadership, the capital achievement of anybody living the robust life of an American citizen.

My name is Seth, and I am trying to build the model for the world’s next great discovery. It’s not an engine that turns water into fuel, but ‘struggle’ into ‘triumph.’

Cover of Farmers and Fisherman

Cover of Farmers and Fisherman

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