Reykjavik plans to be entirely off fossil fuels by 2050, imagine! Already now this mini capital “gets its energy for heat, hot water and electricity entirely from hydropower and geothermal resources – both of which are renewable and free of greenhouse gas emissions,” as Maria Trimarchi and Jacob Clifton report in science.howstuffworks.com. Of course, Reykjavik sits on hot springs, so geothermal is a no-brainer. Every place has to figure out its own best way. When you’re in the desert solar makes sense, when you’re in the Windy City wind power is it, when you’re in Reykjavik it is geothermal, and hydrogen fuel cells will be the future in many other places. It’s all about working with local circumstances, and many solutions will be hybrids. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
The scientific evidence on climate change is quite terrifying – what with the prospects of frying in the blistering sun, being continuously flooded by reoccurring torrential rains, running out of water (in the West and Southwest), running out of oil because we haven’t seen it coming (say what?), and other nasty thoughts?
We all really have to do our part, right now, right here in our backyard. So how sustainable can we make Warwick? What can we do as a community to prepare for climate change and all it entails?
Jeremy Rifkin, social scientist, economist, prolific bestselling author, brilliant global thinker and inspirational change agent, who I heard speak at last fall’s Omega Institute Conference on Sustainability, has been writing about our environmental predicament (sounds milder, but it really is closer to a catastrophe) as the cause of our cultural paradigm, since the mid 1980s. His books are easy to read (I really recommend them), totally eye-opening and perspective changing, and show the road to where we’re headed if things are not too late (Rifkin consults with the European Union because many over here are not yet ready to hear his message). But his vision goes way beyond the mere replacement of oil with renewable energy sources, to predicting and envisioning a culture that no longer exploits for short-term gain, to a new cooperative, sustainable and compassionate culture whose goal is everyone’s wellbeing for long-term gain – peace, stability, and a decent standard of living for all, not just a few.
A sustainable community provides for quality of life while continuously renewing the environment and its resources. This can only happen in a cooperative and cocreative culture. So how sustainable can Warwick become? Let’s work together on such a vision for our town.