I dont know if anybody else has noticed, but we have recently started to have a national conversation about the very things Americans want for them selves and their children. I argue that the 3 things we really want (and need) are only represented in a very selfish way. Let me explain, the three things i am referring to is clean air, clean water, and clean energy. We talk a lot about clean energy, because it is needed on a daily basis, and its easy to put a metric on. For example i filled up 3 gallons of gas, or my house used 5 kW of electricity. It is much harder for ordinary people to measure and evaluate they air or water. It would be safe to say that words like carbon footprint would go the way of the VCR if we had that entire formula.
So how can we have all three of those (water, energy, air)?
Energy – Obviously the big one! This is the hardest to achieve. The best way we can get there is a smart grid. We can have solar and wind be the only generators of our electricity, but with out a smart grid, transferring that energy efficiently is the main problem. Currently the other big factor of clean energy is price of generation. currently the price per KWh can be found here. Once the cost of traditional fossil fuels collides with the cost of renewables (which it undoubtedly will), we will consume more of those fuels.
Water – Yes, buying low flow fixtures, and other efficiency behaviors will help. However the real solution here is large scale technological advancements. The good news is that these [advancements] are not too far away. Unfortunately we do not hasten to fund and expedite these technologies until their need is imminent. Since the “water crisis” in the US is not to come for at least another 10-15 years (so we have time). We just have to make sure that we do not allow our government to defund programs that provide clean water, and air for that matter.
Air – This one is a bit controversial in the public domain no less then in the halls of congress. Greenhouse gasses do warm our planet (that is a FACT). how to resolve the issue is as bitterly disputed as any topic of relevance. Although many believe that EV’s (electronic vehicles) are a credible place to start. Getting rid of vehicle pollution is a great start, but certainly not the complete answer. Building pollution is a much bigger issue. We must uphold building standards the same way we have with vehicles currently.
We urge our community to comment on your ideas for solving the air pollution problem.