While I could quibble with some of his choices and some of his ideas (most notably harnessing the "soil" to run our cars and factories), overwhelmingly I breathe a sigh of relief to have a leader willing at least to address climate change in serious and substantial ways, willing to admonish us all for our "collective failure to make hard choices," and willing to call on us all to reconsider the "ways we use energy."
Now, what the future brings depends upon each of us to take up Obama's call in ways we see fit, adding our individual preferences and opinions to a collective surge toward energy independence. Up to each of us is the task of making our individual opinions heard and seen by providing a model to move forward in ecologically responsible ways.
With each step we take, so too do our nations move forward. With each willing step, we show others a way forward. Do not look to Obama to do this hard work; we must look deep within ourselves, for there the responsibility lies. This is the gift he offers: the motivation to find within ourselves a higher purpose and a noble sacrifice, the opportunity to "choose our better history" as men and women "obscure in [our] labor."
If "everywhere we look, there is work to be done," what work will you choose? How will you answer this call to service and sacrifice and usher in a new era of responsibility?
I hope folks will commit to making at least one change in the comments section, and we'll work together to hold ourselves responsible for these changes. In that spirit, I'll close with my own pledge for energy reduction and learning to live with less because this is how I choose to define "progress" and "growth." This is the legacy I want to leave my children's children: a way of living in harmony with technology and sustainability.
- We will eliminate our second refrigerator, which at first blush seems like a major luxury, but with our dairy cow plus egg and meat sales, we've felt we really needed that second refrigerator. We're in the process of figuring out how to maximize our inside refrigeration space and change our habits with regard to refrigerated food. My goal is to have the garage fridge unplugged and decommissioned by February.
- We will be getting a cookstove this year (yay!), which should be up and running by the fall burning season. It will enable us to cook, warm the upstairs, and heat water simultaneously without coal-generated electricity. Jim plans to plumb it into our electric hot water heater to reduce the amount of electricity we draw to heat our household water.
- We will install our outdoor shower with solar hot water this spring, and I'll even dig the post holes myself rather than waiting on Jim to do it. (Yes, you all heard that, and Woody, I'm sure you'll take his side and hold me to it. *grin* ) Between this and the cookstove, we ought to achieve a roughly comparable seasonal reduction of electric-heated water as we would if we installed an expensive solar hot water system. That's our hope anyway.
C'mon, what are your ideas? What will you pledge?