By Erick O’Donnell
Because of scheduling issues that we don’t need to get into, we weren’t able to run our usual column for the July issue. That’s unfortunate since the Fourth of July would have been the perfect occasion to express the patriotic feelings that come so naturally to us as we muse about the green-energy transition, an often-dry topic that nonetheless touches on themes of national solidarity and purpose.
But, what the heck—September is as fine a month as any to talk about what solar power and patriotism have to do with each other. (An Arizona September is hotter than July in most other states, anyway). so here goes, our Fourth of July column (edited to reflect the passing of time):
The Fourth of July came and went again this year. It was an occasion to celebrate the history and traditions that tie us together as fellow citizens.
But doing so might have been hard for some folks. With so much anxiety and cynicism in the air nowadays, patriotism has to compete with less sunny emotions about the country’s present and future, leaving some Americans unsure of how to celebrate the nation’s birthday in a way that feels true to how they’re feeling.
The root of the problem could be a lack of active engagement. Love of country, like love of anything else, is not just something you feel; it’s something you do. The blessings that we celebrate every year didn’t materialize out of nowhere. They came from concrete actions performed by patriots who were committed to practicing the love they felt for their country by solving its problems. As their descendants, it’s incumbent on us to follow in their footsteps by solving the problems of our own time.
With that in mind, going solar is an excellent way to put your patriotism into practice. Don’t see the connection? Let us explain.
As we noted, loving one’s country means actively working to make it better. But that’s hard to do amid a pessmistic political climate in which citizens don’t trust one another. Multiple public-opinion polls show many Americans doubting the good intentions of fellow citizens on the opposite side of the political spectrum. How do you engage in helpful actions when the most effective actions—organized, large-scale ones—are stymied by widespread distrust?
In such a climate, small-scale but visible actions might be more effective than attempts to create large-scale change through political organizing. “Seeing is believing,” as the old saying goes. If people can see positive changes happening because other members of their community are taking steps to create those changes, then it could become easier to believe other positive changes—perhaps even bigger ones—are also possible.
As a private decision with public visibility and impact, investing in rooftop solar for one’s home is, therefore, a perfect way to help break through the walls of mistrust and cynicism. People can see the solar panels in their neighborhoods and hear the notes of optimism in their neighbors’ voices as they explain why they decided to put them up. More civically engaged members of a community can see their neighbors coming to public meetings to push for solar-friendly policies.
As a surefire way to ensure continued access to crucial natural resources, solar power can unite Americans of different persuasions around a common purpose. Americans agree that the wellbeing of the country depends on a stable climate and energy security. And they agree on the solution: three-quarters of Americans want the US to generate all its electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind.
Arizona, like other southwestern states, is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of drought, which scientists agree is worsened by the heating of the planet. The southwestern states that rely on the Colorado River for irrigation, tap water, and hydropower recently were forced to upend a century-old deal on water rights by agreeing to slash the amount of water that can flow to cities and farms.
In a situation like this, solar power means the power to survive. By capturing the sun’s energy, we can harness the very thing that, because of the greenhouse effect, is heating and drying our region of the country to unsustainable degrees and apply it toward solving the problem. What better way is there to love your country than to participate directly in the solution to one of its most pressing crises?
If you’re ready to achieve energy independence for your family—and help achieve it for your country—then call SunSolar Solutions today at (602) 610-0340 to have a design prepared for your home free of charge. You can also try the FREE Solar + EV Calculator!