10 Ways To Speed Up Adoption of Sustainable Energy

"What are the top 10 ways any person can speed the global transition to sustainable energy?"

The following question was recently posted on Quora:

"What are the top 10 ways any person can speed the global transition to sustainable energy?"

Check out the expert responses below:

Mike Barnard, energy expert:

  1. Buy an electric vehicle - This increases demand for electricity and in the majority of jurisdictions world wide, new energy is much less polluting and carbon intensive. And you won't have any tailpipe emissions. And if you buy a Tesla Model S70D you'll have an all wheel drive rocket that's amazingly fun to drive and costs about as much full lifecycle as a Honda Odyssey. If you buy the Tesla Model X due out later in 2015, you'll have a $50K initial price SUV which is cheaper full lifecycle than cars costing $35K, goes like a rocket and has very funky doors. (In two years, get the Model III for $35K, which will be cheaper full lifecycle than $25K cars offering nothing like it at all).
  2. Sign up with a utility which offers 100% green energy - Most major jurisdictions have utilities which offer plans for clean energy at a minor price differential.
  3. Vote for parties with sane policies - Let go of your traditional or family ties to specific parties. Let go of the rhetoric. Let go of ideology. Which parties at the municipal, state / provincial and federal levels are offering sound approaches to decarbonizing the grid? Vote for them.
  4. Advocate for utility-scale wind and solar power - There are NIMBY's and fossil generation organizations fighting wind farms and solar farms, and putting in place roadblocks to their deployment. Wind and solar are cheaper than nuclear, grids with lots of wind and solar are more reliable than grids with traditional mixes (see Germany vs France and Poland if you don't believe me), wind and solar build faster than any other form of generation and they are better for wildlife than any other form of generation, not matter what some people say. Get out there and volunteer with groups supporting wind and solar farms. Find out where they are being proposed near you and get engaged in the debate. Educate yourself about actual bird and bat mortality statistics (and Blandings Turtle threats too). Wind and solar are going to represent 60% to 70% of the total global generation base in a few decades; work to accelerate that locally.
  5. Don't let global warming deniers get away with it - These people are like the anti-vax crowd; they are actively harming others through their willful ignorance. They are opposed to a transformation which won't cost much, will leave the air cleaner, will create enormous numbers of jobs, make a lot of people rich and leave the planet a better place because they refuse to accept the science on climate change. Batter them about the head and shoulders with foam bats if necessary, but don't give an inch on their insanity. Ridicule them and people like Senator Inhofe. Focus on the money flowing from the coal-loving Koch brothers to denialist scientists, politicians and front groups. On Quora, report their inaccuracies to moderators and get them shut down. In public, vote them out of office, confront them in debates and force them to the fringes where their extremist views belong. Sideline them.
    It's not ten, but five suffices I think.

Arnis Tarassu, mechanical engineering student:

Show dissatisfaction - tell everybody that you want a better future. And never approve bad habids like when your relative wants to buy a gas guzzler.

7. Learn to use less - insulate your home - triple glazed windows are just the start. Insulate even when you live in a hot weather and use AC. Buy efficient devices. In Europe every home appliance has to pass some tests and result looks like this:

8. Teach the kids - education should be #1 in this list, not only for children.

9. Work for better future - find a job in a company that makes things better. It doesn't have to be solar panel manufacturer. Working at company that uses scrap plastic (from bottles) to make car interior is also excellent. Or a company that tests tires for efficiency.

Jon Behmer, sustainable tech expert:

10. Locate cleantech startups in your area and help them raise seed capital.

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