In All Good Newz’s first ever guest article, clean energy tech author BF Nagy explains what we as ordinary people can do for the environment and the climate on a day-to-day basis. Learn about the top 5 climate solutions for the next 5 years.
In January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at a gathering of the world’s billionaires and top policy influencers, straight talking climate activist Greta Thunberg provided some expectations. The elite class should act immediately to end more than US $400 billion in fossil fuel government subsidies; investments by banks and others in fossil fuel extraction, and should divest from existing projects and fossil fuel firms.
In terms of priorities, these should be considered our highest. Leaders need to hear from us, either through a protest action or through the many channels with which we can peacefully influence governments and corporations. Some commentators have suggested that individual action is not important, or that billionaires can or will complete the assignment on their own. This is an unrealistic view. They are not generally involved in day-to day operations in their companies, although they do influence them, and government policy.
But to quickly implement clean energy policies on a broad scale takes courage and willpower from millions of people working in numerous government and corporate positions – people like you and me.
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We need to avail ourselves of the democratic levers available to us, and influence corporations either from within as employees, or from outside as customers. We must vote with our wallets, because this is a powerful way to build the momentum needed to head off catastrophe. Here are the top 5 climate solutions and highest (money-saving) priorities for individuals:
Buy an electric vehicle
Buy an electric vehicle and support electrification of other transportation types. Transportation is among the greatest contributors to emissions in most countries, and is a highly visible example to help motivate others to join the clean energy age. Support greater investment in electrified mass transit and find alternatives to flying, until the aviation industry gets the message and accelerates their investment in electric planes.
Electrify your building
There is no longer any excuse for a house, apartment or business building to operate using fossil fuels. I have written hundreds of articles in top engineering and architecture journals on proven (less expensive) clean building systems in the past 15 years. Start with the building envelope (insulation, windows, leaks) then install clean, electrified systems like heat pumps, energy recovery ventilators (for fresh air without energy losses) geothermal, solar and/or batteries with micro grid software. Hire a passive house consultant and you won’t go wrong. You’ll reduce energy cost by 60%-80%. While you’re at it, move cooling and refrigeration systems to natural refrigerants.
Support wind, solar, batteries and microgrids
Many progressive regional governments and utilities are now doing a good job replacing unhealthy coal, gas and nuclear facilities with wind, solar, batteries and microgrids. Others are not. Of course there are a lot of compromised and weak players involved here, and a lot of excuses and short-sighted delays, charges and more. We need to make our voices heard, loud and clear. The people of Georgia and North Carolina sat idly by while failed nuclear was tried again. Now they are paying huge costs for projects that will never be operational. Educate yourself and say yes to a reinvented power generation landscape and 100% clean energy.
Whether you are a building owner, farmer, or use large amounts of water in another kind of business, you are aware of the serious problems looming with our water. Polluted water bodies, crumbling ancient infrastructure, increasing drinking water and sewage costs; these can all be alleviated by a host of modern technologies such as low-flow plumbing, rainwater re-use, grey water systems, smart irrigation technology and more. Do your homework. It’s easier than you might think. The ROI might not be as compelling as energy and transportation upgrades, but the risk of inaction with water is severe.
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Talk about climate action
Whether it’s Greta Thunberg’s message to billionaires, or the rest of us signing petitions, filing reports with government task forces, voting with our wallets for electric cars and buildings – we need to talk about it. We need to spread the good news that there is money to be saved and there are new business opportunities with clean energy and water. Join your organization’s green committee, find clean energy savings and enhance your career. Social scientists say talking about it is critical to building the momentum we need to make the full shift to the clean energy age.
Why not start today?
BF Nagy is the author of The Clean Energy Age and more than 200 articles on clean energy technologies, government programs and energy economics. Find him on Twitter @BFNagy and check out his homepage: bfnagy.com