Archive for the ‘global warming’ Category

The turning of the year

solstice tree

Our solstice tree, decorated with water drop baubles and critters of all sorts.

Here we are at the turning of the year. It’s been a hard year in many ways. My particular concern has been the environment and natural resources. I’ve had to witness oil and gas interests take precedence over the protection of fragile landscapes, sacred cultural resources and vulnerable water supplies. Wildfires have devastated Northern California, where I live, including parts of Santa Rosa, the city where we go for many services. A huge fire now threatens Santa Barbara, in southern California, where I lived in the 1970s. Here on the northern coast, warming ocean temperatures have wrought havoc on the kelp forests and the sea creatures that depend on them. Throughout the world, as starving people flee drought-stricken lands, tribal hostilities are increasing.

Meanwhile, the days follow each other. The sun’s arc rises lower and lower in the sky, its rising and setting further and further to the south, and the darkness of longer duration. There will be a pause, a solstice or sun-standing-still, and then a return of the light, and we will celebrate, in our various spiritual traditions, a return of hope.

May you all find hope and joy in the days to come.

Rooftop solar panel program at risk

rooftop solar panels

Solar panels on our house.

I’ve just done my citizen activist stint for the week: fired messages to the California Public Utilities Commission, Governor Brown, and my state assemblyman and senator regarding a proposal by big utility companies to gut the rooftop solar panel business by increasing infrastructure fees and drastically reducing the credit solar panel owners get paid for releasing the surplus electricity they generate. It seems that letting consumers generate their own electricity is cutting into big business’s profits. The CPUC is expected to make a decision by mid-December.

Here’s what I wrote to the CPUC. If you’re interested in adding your voice, you can find more information at:

http://mendocinosolar.com/ (our vendor)
http://www.saverooftopsolarca.com/

TO: California Public Utilities Commission
In this time of global climate change, I urge you to reject a proposal by utility companies to gut the solar “net metering” program by increasing infrastructure fees and severely reducing the credit solar panel users earn by selling their daily surplus to utility companies. The utilities’ proposal privileges company profits over responsible citizens’ response to the challenge of global warming.

When my husband and I had solar panels installed on our house nearly two years ago, we contracted with PG&E to pay a monthly service fee, which we assumed was based on a reasonable calculation of our share of infrastructure costs. We also contracted to sell back our excess power at a reasonable market rate. If allowed to charge excessive fees, and/or short solar panel owners as vendors of electricity, PG&E and other utility companies will not only discourage other people from installing rooftop solar systems, but also discourage users of existing solar panel installations to be frugal and responsible in their use of electricity, since there will be no incentive to conserve.

The issues raised by global warming are so huge that we cannot allow any backsliding on conservation. Again, please reject the utility companies’ proposal.

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