Sounds like a good idea, eh? It's interesting to know that our neighbor state Georgia has furnished an example by adopting a "Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act," making Georgia the first in the Southeast and 25th in the nation to approve third-party solar financing.
So why is Alabama #50, providing next to no incentives or support for solar power – when Alabama's and Georgia's major electric utilities, Alabama Power and Georgia Power, are sister subsidiaries of the Southern Company, which says on its official website: "We are committed to providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy, while transitioning to low- to no-carbon operations by 2050." A good question, eh?
The Alabama campaign has been launched under the umbrella of the national "Mothers Out Front: Mobilizing for a Livable Climate" organization. Here's a good link for more info:
I signed the petition a few days ago.
That the Alabama Solar Initiative is aimed at changing governmental policy, not simply (at least directly) aimed at urging us consumers to switch from fossil fuels to solar, is a big reason I'm for it. Coincidentally, one of my favorite sources, Low-Tech Magazine, just recently posted an article titled "We Can't Do It Ourselves." This post makes the point that campaigns aimed at influencing individual consumer choices have not resulted in lower energy demand or decarbonization of the energy infrastructure, because it is "systemic social change" that is needed. "Individuals do make choices, but these are facilitated and constrained by the society in which they live. Therefore, it may be more useful to question the system that requires many of us to travel and consume energy as we do." Here is Low-Tech's artwork picturing the problem of individuals up against "the system:"
|Illustration: Diego Marmolejo.
I'm reminded here of a classic example of how the system (govt + corporations) exerts its power. In the early days of the environmental movement (1971), a print media and TV PSA ad called "The Crying Indian," paid for by the Keep America Beautiful nonprofit, proved very effective in getting Americans to stop littering, and to recycle. The message: "People start pollution. People can stop it."
But Keep American Beautiful was formed by the American Can Co. and the Owens-Illinois Glass Co., later joined by Coca-Cola and other bottlers and canners, and its real purpose was to make consumers, not corporations, responsible for environmental issues; and especially to counter efforts to stop the industry from using throw-away containers, especially with laws requiring a deposit on returnable containers. And the ad was even more effective in achieving that purpose. Read – and weep – here: The "Crying Indian" ad that fooled the environmental movement.
Watch the Crying Indian TV ad here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7OHG7tHrNM