More from the Energy Conference...

I thought the most engaging speaker of the day was Margie Meares, of the Clean Air Community Trust in Asheville.

She said that we don't have an energy crisis so much as we have a mindset crisis.

For instance, she thinks people's mindset about driving would be different if all cars had an instantaneous MPG calculator on them.

She thinks people would make different decisions within their homes if their electric meters were inside the house.

She also talked about what some of the broader implications could be if folks made different decisions within their own homes.

She claimed that if everyone in the state used compact fluorescent lights, the amount of energy saved would be enough that we could shut down a nuclear power plant.

She also outlined the environmental and personal benefits of carpooling.

While she devoted a lot of time to the importance of personal responsibility in addressing climate change, she also had some tips for the government.

One innovative idea she touted was the idea of creating a two tiered rate structure for electricity. Up to a certain amount power would be charged at one rate, but above that level it would be charged at a higher rate. It would subject excess energy use to a sort of 'luxury tax,' causing folks to give more careful thought to how much they use.

She also addressed the controversy over the Cliffside expansion. She challenged the Utilities Commission, in fulfilling its charge of providing least cost power sources in North Carolina, to look at health and human costs, not just dollars and cents.

She concluded by saying that as it was on Clean Smokestacks, North Carolina has the opportunity to be a regional leader on the environment. It's up to individual citizens to put the pressure on elected officials to provide that leadership, and it's up to the government to listen to those voices and take action.

1 comment:

  1. January 22, 2007

    Transylvania Times
    Brevard, NC

    Dear Editor:
    As I reflect on the superb “Sustainable Energy” conference put on this past Saturday by Brevard College and Sierra Club, the closing comments by Prof. Dee Eggers of UNCA keep resonating in my mind. She was the cleanup hitter after all the other speakers who had demonstrated the unassailable evidence that global climate change is in progress, that it is caused by human activity, and that there are sensible ways to combat the problem.
    Prof. Eggers’ insight for me was that we are not talking about “preferences” here, like the color of your car, or whether you like one-way streets in Brevard, or whether you want the Forest Service to promote one sort of tree over another. Instead Dr. Eggers observed, we are faced with a “moral imperative”. As ethical/moral/religious people we surely care about the lives of our children and grandchildren, to say nothing of the terrible consequences to be suffered by the millions of people who will be forced away from flooded coastlines and dried-up farms.
    We have an obligation to those who will come after us. If we want to be able to live with ourselves, to match our belief that all of us are at root, fundamentally good and caring people, we must not shirk this obligation.
    Sincerely, Bill Thomas,