Living Off The Sun: Part 2, “The Question Man.”

We’re living in interesting times, with polarized politics in many countries. Here in the U.S. one polarized issue is global warming–happening or not? Here’s my take:

* We can kill a river, and the dead river kills a lake (Cayahuga, Erie). But we can’t kill the atmosphere?… not even make it a little “sick”?

* We can atomically contaminate hundreds of square miles of land, killing and mutating the life therein (Chernobyl), but throwing teragigs of carbon into the atmosphere will have no impact on weather, crops, sea levels?

* We can kill a sea (Aral) by diverting it’s life force and filling it with pollutants, but CO2 and other chemicals in the air–no difference whatsoever?

* We can create a “sea-fill” –the oceanic version of a landfill– accumulating in the Pacific Gyre, and gradually kill off just about every kind of living sea creature across the globe, but the garbage in our air won’t harm us that breathe it?

So, someone tell me what I’m missing. How can we contaminate and destroy bits and pieces of the earth, but expect no reckoning for moving carbon from underground and into the atmosphere? Long ago when news came mostly from the print media, you’d find the occasional column by “The Answer Man.” I don’t have answers, I tell my climate skeptic friends, but I have a lot of questions. Call me The Question Man.

And I’m not waiting for answers, I’m just doing what 1/8,000,000,000th of the world’s popluation can do to slow our collective asphyxiation. These past two days we’ve had near full-sun, after a gloomy fall and first few weeks of winter. And I’m cooking with the sun rather than with fossil fuels. I’m keeping most of the carbon I would otherwise use, in the earth where it belongs.


I thought I was being clever when I titled these posts “Living Off The Sun,” but I must give credit and tribute to one who says it better. Not coincidentally, it came from the inventor of the SunFlash, Steve Baer. I stumbled upon this quote online. It was a biographical sketch of Baer, toward the end of a chapter called “Steve Baer, Beatnik Engineer” (browse for that title, you’ll be rewarded with a summary of his work with solar). Baer expressed his frustration with the Reagan Administration’s trashing of nascent renewable energy tax credits: “In 1975, in a book called ‘Sunspots,’ Baer announced that he would go his own way, “an old farmer, farming the sky, worrying about the weather.”

“Farming The Sky”–a more direct way of saying he’s “Living Off The Sun.” I have Sun Spots, and thought I read it cover to cover, but I’ll break it out again as I don’t recall that wonderful quote. Thank you Steve, for showing the many ways we can harvest sunshine.