All Hands On Deck!

11-10-22 UPDATE: From David Roberts at Volts Podcast: Transcripts from his recent interviews with experts on the IRA funding and impact on pocketbooks and climate change goals. These are invaluable for keeping track of the IRA.

Today I learned about the Bicameral Electrification Caucus. Contact your representative if a member of the caucus, and alert them to join it if not.

A new Volts podcast with two experts discusses the relationships between EV charging and keeping the grid functioning well. This is an important component of the new EV world that is coming at record speed. A very enlightening discussion. EVs can be storage units of energy, too and potentially could help stabilize the grid during this change over from dirty fuels.

Yale Climate Connections: Lithium mining is much less impactful than coal mining. Video presents the Salton Sea as a huge reservoir of lithium in the U.S. Explains how the mining there is less polluting than other mining sites in the world due to how the lithium is geologically structured.

Because Virginia K-12 schools are allowed to purchase third-party solar, they lead in the U.S. for solar power generation. Also see Brighter Future 2022 Report on solar energy use among K-12 Schools nationwide.

Talking Through the Inflation Reduction Act: Volts Podcast:

Diving further into the Inflation Reduction Act: Volts Podcast:

Calculate savings with Rewiring America Calculator:

From EESI: How the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Work Together to Advance Climate Action – September 13, 2022

Rewiring America; Electrification and the IRA

From RMI: How Contractors and Electricians are Tackling Emissions in US Homes.

New Volts Podcast: What’s up with Manchin’s plan to reform energy permitting. David interviews Abigail Dillen at Earth Justice. 09=07-22

U.S. Department of Energy: Newsroom

Check here for Sept. 8 Webinar re: Careers in Clean Energy

The success of the climate bill depends on states, cities and us.

Come January 1, 2023 citizens will be eligible for tax credits for their homes and transportation. Each citizen can receive up to $2,000 in tax credits for energy saving purchases and installations of a heat pump, insulation, energy saving windows or appliances, and other weatherization costs. Tax credits for purchase of EVs is another investment that citizens can reap through purchase of a clean energy vehicle. The legislation invest in the industries producing the cars and trucks, and the infrastructure (recharging stations, battery production, etc.) to support it.

Axios article about these tax credits.

The tax credits will be refreshed each year for a decade. So, plan ahead: what do you need first, second, etc. Over the decade you may be able to greatly reduce the amount of energy you need to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer. These improvements will increase the value of your home. By millions of citizens participating, it creates a wave in the right direction: rapid transition to a clean economy. But, we all have to participate for it to work. Spread the word and help neighbors and friend to invest in their homes and transportation.

I suggest also that you subscribe to Volts Podcast on Substack Publishing Platform, moderated by David Roberts. See podcasts 1 and 2 about the details in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) legislation. These are long but worth the listen as it includes estimates through modeling about how likely we are to meet the climate goals to reach carbon pollution reduction to the 2005 level by 2030.

There are still unknowns since each state may handle these funds differently. **If your state is not acting within the spirit of the funding, go to your state reps and local council to make sure they use the funding as it was intended. Call them out publicly, use social media — we have to make this happen. Every hour counts now as to how much we can put the brakes on climate-induced forces that are causing record floods, heat, fires and droughts here and abroad.

As I learn more details I will continue to post information for you and your family to take advantage of these savings programs. **I invite each of my readers to comment back with what they are learning with links if possible.

The success of this legislation is directly dependent on us participating as much as we can. There are provisions for offering communities without the resources to take advantage of these savings through nonprofits and other community programs which will assist families in weatherizing their homes and reducing energy costs.

One more thing: if effective programs to reduce climate risk are in danger of misuse or, not used, due to politics, shout it from the rafters! Generations are depending on us to do the right thing.

What are the lessons of loss? Center for Humans and Nature …

We are living in an unprecedented time of loss. Many forces in American culture align to prevent grieving that can deepen our insight into life and human nature.

The Center for Humans and Nature brings together creative minds from a variety of lifeways to answer questions relevant to all of us and that point us toward responses that reflect our true nature.

With this blog, which has recently been focused on issues such as electrification of the grid, and social justice issues, I am stepping back to find other windows into human nature, American culture, and my own personal path seeking a greater understanding of why we do what we do in the face of evidence to the contrary.

Dream Acres, Bowling Green, KY

From The Big Fix: Wright’s Law

See here my introduction to the new book for citizens, The Big Fix: 7 Practical Steps to Save Our Planet.

The first chapter, the first big lesson for us, is to understand what economists call the learning curve of a new technology. Theodore P. Wright was an architectural engineer with an inquisitive mind. Everyone knew that costs decrease as production increases but he wanted to know if there was a pattern that could predict it. The principle is rooted in economy of scale.

Wright eventually found that as production doubles, the cost of labor decreases by 20 percent. Production becomes more efficient as workers find better ways to do things and technology is improved. This formula is Wright’s Law.

In a graph of the production and cost of making the Model T Ford, Wright observed something else: as demand by the public grew, cost of production decreased and thus the price to the consumer. One drives the other.

When you plot the production by cost, you are measuring another principle that the business world knows well for any new product: the learning curve. The company and workers learn more efficient ways of making something further driving down the price.

An important idea is that the reverse is also true: if a new technology is left to linger, i.e. production is slow due to lack of demand, then the cost of production will not decrease and the potential will die.

It is not time that drives the learning curve, it is the amount of production.

Citizens can drive the learning curve for renewable energy to reduce humanity’s footprint on the Earth. We are not passive bystanders waiting for businesses and government to figure out how to make cheap EVs: we have to drive it with demand for it. And, the IRA funding will be available to you and your family or business to do just that! Go here to learn about the tax and price incentives available to all of us on January 1, 2023 and for the subsequent decade!

A book of rare beauty

About a decade ago I put together seven book reviews of a group of novels with related themes. Seven Stories was never published except on this blog.

The book that inspired me to begin this project is The Loon Feather, Iola Fuller, published in 1940. Here is the pdf of that synopsis. The author shares a great love of the land and the original people. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings reviewed it as a book “of the rarest beauty”.

I believe the authors in the Seven Stories collection bring readers a certain kind of wisdom we sorely need now. Start with The Loon Feather located on Mackinac Island in the Great Lakes.

Photo by Susan Feathers, Blue Ridge Mts.

To gamble well, study God

Update: In a discussion about the making of the film Lincoln, Doris Kearns Godwin, Tony Kushner, and Steven Spielberg identify their favorite scenes in the movie, Steven talks about the ability to accept a great idea from the “other side”: this illustrates the point of this post!

God rolls the dice, shuffles the deck for endless possibilities, knowing not how anyone of us creatures of Earth may respond – ignore, expire, excel. But, rolling and dealing endless possibilities is the key to God’s success.

Trees know this for through God each tree grows thousands of seeds in all shapes and configurations but in the end it releases them to the wind, to hitch a ride on the fur of a passing creature or fall into the fast moving stream nearby. Will a seed find rich soil? Will it be nourished to survive? Will it fall upon concrete? Or be gobbled up, later to be excreted with a wrapping of fertilizer?

With all the possibilities, each with its potential outcomes, some seedlings will grow. And, IF there is enough sunlight and just the right amount of moisture and warmth, it will grow into a mighty tree and someday throw its own possibilities into the winds of the future.

The Creator exerts patience and rationality: a kind of detachment that allows all possibilities to emerge.

That’s where we come in. Will we respond or ignore an opportunity, or more often, doubt ourselves? God observes. We might get another “hand” or not. I think the Creator must love the folks who take a chance knowing they might fail. Because that’s what the Gambler must do: keep rolling the dice, keep open all the possibilities for a winning hand! Indeed, all great things require it.

Therefore, let us consider all the possibilities rather than spend our time criticizing ideas, even despising the source of them; let us work broadly and earnestly to solve our common problems: climate change, war, peaceful relations. etc. by keeping many ideas and strategies in play.

What if together we just might play a winning hand?

A children’s book reminds us of a time in Poland that might be our future in different digs …

The Crystal Beads is an award-winning new children’s book written by Pat Gould-Black. She is a successful author. This is her first book “for children” but folks, this book is a cautionary tale for all of us today in America where we are facing fascist forces moving through our political structures and sanctioning ideas in our public schools.

Here is an interesting podcast with Pat on David Edward’s Frequency 99 podcast. David is also an author. Take time to listen then order the book and share it with your family and friends. Pat provides an adult reader guide. She is a psychotherapist who counsels veterans experiencing PTSD. Please get a copy, and also suggest to your local library to add this book to their children’s and adult book collection.

Order a copy and support independent bookstores: The Crystal Beads.

Artists like Pat are powerful voices calling to us to be vigilant and to think for ourselves in a time when we are deluged by media. Turn it off. Read the book. Think. And Act!

by Pat Black-Gould

Here is another author who was engaged by the American government in the rise of fascism in our country to write a fictional story about the pernicious ways in which fascism takes hold of a community: John Steinbeck’s The Moon is Down.

Keeping track of funding for climate resilience at the state and local level

UPDATE 8-17-22 Volts Podcast:

I highly recommend that you listen to the Volts Podcast above and sign up for the podcast. There will be a Part II to this discussion.

Part II 8-19-22: Do NOT MISS THIS – So Much Explained

Scientific American: How the Senate Climate Bill Could Slash Emissions by 40 Percent

The Cardinal News – recent article with numerous links to learn more about how climate funding may or may not positively impact the economy, and who is likely to come out ahead. This publication serves Southwest and Southside Virginia communities, and is a bellwether for all American communities wondering how climate funding will play out locally. Trends in other states are reviewed and links provided. The article is written by the editor of Cardinal News, Dwayne Yancey, who illustrates how to write a balanced article.

Go here to read another Cardinal News article about Joe Manchin and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Editor Yancey supposes there may not be support to pass a Manchin “deal”.

Return to this blog. I will be following the money trail as it becomes available to states and cities, and whether in fact people who can benefit the most will be able to take advantage of the bill’s climate mitigation investments.

Join Third Act to take action toward a rapid and equitable transition to a clean energy economy.

Photo by Susan Feathers

A Consequential Discussion on FB with Heather Cox Richardson, historian and exemplary citizen. Followed by David McCullough at the Library of Congress!

Heather Cox Richardson: Listen to the very very end. We all must become vocal with our families and neighbors — in the way that democracy was formed and has been more or less sustained until the forces of authoritarianism began a kind of rot in the foundation of the American republic. We are poised now on the edge of collapse of all we have lived and died for and love with all our hearts: the belief in the equality of all persons and a government of laws by which we agree to abide, no matter WHO WE ARE.

Read the Tea Leaves of our unfolding fate: either a democracy that prevails even through the assault of despots and misinformation campaigns, or the loss of the great experiment of ideas and ideals that have made our system of governing so rare and necessary in this world.

Heather Cox Richardson on FB on Politics: August 9, 2022 – listen to the end.

Then, here is a quintessential discussion about democracy, John Adams and the model he and our founders set for us as citizens, about how we teach (or don’t teach) history, and how McCullough thinks America will pull through this turbulent time.

David McCullough is a national treasure. Thank God he left behind his wonderful books. Check them out and read now to help us all return to the recognition that government is US, not some other person or even our representatives. This is OUR SHOW. But the audience has been missing for too long. Let’s reach for our stars and keep this democracy for our children and generations to come. And, by doing the best thing possible: talk to each other about what you believe and want. And do so with respect and a listening ear. We could be on the same page: not the same issues, but the principles by which we govern ourselves, guarded at all cost.