Here comes the sun

Jimmy Carter with solar panels at the White House circa mid 70s.

Jimmy Carter with solar panels at the White House circa mid 70s.

Even small gestures have a measurable impact.

And symbolism counts.

That’s why it was so refreshing to hear that President Obama took to heart the pleas of three young women from 350.org and agreed to re-install solar panels on the White House.

President Jimmy Carter was the first US president to adopt solar panels, and then Ronald Reagan removed them. (Now that wasn’t very morning in America, was it?)

Well, solar panels are back, and let’s hope they stay, because a prominent example of distributed power as an energy solution and a national security measure is probably the single best way to encourage the DIY, conservation, and small carbon footprint that anyone can undertake to make a difference. (Well, maybe not anyone. Until we really invest in alternative energy infrastructure, cost is prohibitive. Yet this may be a start.)

350.org's Bill McKibben.

350.org's Bill McKibben.

Anyway, kudos to Bill McKibben’s 350.org for getting the ball rolling, and for courageously taking this to the White House; God bless President Obama for finally running with it; and thanks to anyone in the mainstream press who is covering this because until we start talking about energy every blessed day, every other national conversation is just a way to shuffle feet, avert eyes, and ignore the three ton elephant in the room.

Until then, Carter was right about another thing. Turn down that thermostat, and put on a sweater, son. You look fine in wool.

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