Okay, the election’s over. Federal protection of our environment will shortly go into full reverse. The state legislature is split to the point of fibrillation. There will be no state carbon tax by initiative, the three letter word “tax” now a fatal curse on any measure, even one that provides a benefit without additional burden. Local governments lack, and cannot hope to get, the necessary legal authority to either tax or regulate in a manner that will cause a reduction in atmospheric carbon.
Now that every available governmental institution that could act to reduce carbon either can’t or won’t, what does this leave?
Well, it leaves you and me, to start with. It means your and my neighbors. It means all of us who can act; there are many who cannot, not yet. Looking to the government to do one’s thinking doesn’t mean that you’ll get what you ask for. So instead of looking to the government to regulate or coerce by “sin tax,” think of the government as the party who cannot make you use fossil fuels, and also cannot stop you from acting as your own carbon-reducing factor. Wait no further!
Here are some things that you cannot be stopped from doing so long as they are within your means:
1. Switch your gas/oil heat to a carbon-free heat pump.
2. Insulate and weatherize your home.
3. Turn in your fossil-fueled car on a high-mileage plug-in EV and enjoy lower driving costs, virtually no repairs, tune-ups, or fossil fuel price fluctuations. This also takes you out of a good deal (but not all) of Mid-East politics and oil-related military adventures. EVs are the perfect island car. If you have two cars, one should be an EV. As of June 2016, there were 89 EVs and plug-in hybrids, a 48 percent increase over the prior year.
4. Change your light bulbs to LEDs.
Some of these things don’t “pay” in the sense of rapid return on investment. But they do pay in less carbon, either here or somewhere else. Not everyone can afford to do many or all of these things. But those among us who can, should. As some of these actions become more prevalent, the price goes down in the market, and more people can join those who already acted.
A fossil fuel-friendly government cannot stop guerrilla carbon control. Living here in the San Juans relying on fossil fuels when we can afford non-fossil energy is inconsistent with why we are here. It’s up to us to resolve this dissonance within ourselves and act. This effort starts and ends with us.