The emergence of the solar industry has made an indelible (and growing) impact on the US political system and those in the wider world, shaking up long-standing dynamics. In the context of tackling climate change and furthering the Green Revolution, solar power has a pivotal role to play.
Here, we’ll discuss:
- Why the Growing Solar Industry Is Changing the Political Winds in DC and Beyond
- The Urgency of Addressing Climate Change
- The Indispensable Role of NGOs in Tackling Climate Change and Leading Solar NGOs in the US and Abroad
- What the Average Person Can Do to Contribute to the Green Revolution
Why is the Growing Solar Industry Changing the Political Winds in DC and Beyond?
Massive shifts in public opinion based on the realities of the fossil fuel industry’s enormous contributions to global warming — combined with roughly a trillion dollars in global research each year since the beginning of the 21st century — have changed the energy game.
Enter the rapidly growing solar industry – tapping the Earth’s one true renewable resource.
In his seminal essay The Politics of the Solar Age: 1975-2015, futurist and evolutionary economist Hazel Henderson identifies three major reasons for the shifting political winds in favor of solar power and away from fossil fuels:
- Increasing consensus over the “growing risks of fossil fuels and nuclear energy, unaccounted rising costs of resource-degradation, waste, pollution health impacts (still ‘externalized’ from company and government accounts)“
- “pressure on water supplies, collapsing fish stocks, spreading desertification and loss of forests and biodiversity“
- “the growing recognition of the benefits of the green transition to sustainability in public health and safety, environmental quality, more equitable decentralized technologies—all of which are available and when scaled could provide unlimited sustainable energy for all countries“
Why the Threat of Global Climate Change Demands Immediate Corrective Action With Renewable Energy
Global climate change, which is largely fueled by oil and gas consumption as well as other factors, poses an existential threat to life on Earth. In 1992, the United Nations, the premier international governing body in the world, issued a clarion call for action in its United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) :
“The ultimate objective… [is] the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”
Despite initial commitments from 154 signatories to the Convention, including the US, which later expanded to include all 197 UN member states, international-level cooperation since that initial 1992 call to action has been slower than ideal for reversing the damage caused by fossil fuel emissions and preventing future destruction of the environment.
Slowly, though, the public consciousness of the urgent need to address climate change has grown.
Now, in 2021, even the US Defense Department, which is usually chiefly concerned with geopolitical wrangling between nation-states, has recently weighed in more heavily on the need for corrective action on the climate front:
“Today, no nation can find lasting security without addressing the climate crisis. We face all kinds of threats in our line of work, but few of them truly deserve to be called existential. The climate crisis does.”
-Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III
The NGOs Tackling Global Climate Change
It goes without saying that coordinating an international response to climate change between nations, each of which has its own interests to represent, is a massive undertaking.
That’s where special entities called non-governmental organizations NGOs – which typically focus on a particular philanthropic goal such as education for the developing world, hunger alleviation, and, of course, environmental advocacy — come into play:
“Environmental NGOs can play a crucial role in helping to plug gaps by conducting research to facilitate policy development, building institutional capacity, and facilitating independent dialogue with civil society to help people live more sustainable lifestyles.”
Specifically in the context of solar power, some of the key environmental NGO actors in this arena include:
- International Solar Energy Society (ISES)
- Global 100% Renewable Energy Campaign
- American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)
- Global Atlas for Renewable Energy
- Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition
What Will the Politics of Solar Power Look Like Moving Forward and What Can Average People Do to Speed the Green Energy Revolution?
Make no mistake: the fossil fuel industry is still well-entrenched in the political process; fully extricating is an uphill effort that will take years and perhaps decades. No industry — least of all one as well-bankrolled in its lobbying efforts as the oil and gas sector — disappears overnight.
The momentum that powers the shift, as any positive change does, will occur from the bottom up. The civil rights struggles of past eras proved that a well-organized base of dedicated citizens can force dramatic change – even when facing entrenched interests opposed to those changes.
Writing for De Ethica. A Journal of Philosophical, Theological and Applied Ethics, Tim Christion Myers explains:
“Given the global track record of the past two decades, it’s become clear that such changes have to be instigated and enforced by a politically organized populous willing to keep powerful interests in check. The totalizing nature of climate change necessitates empowered and clear-sighted democracies like never before, and this in turn requires the kind of moral force that underlies all mass movements later generations recognize as historical in scope.”
The burden is on each of us to do what we can. Together, with our individual efforts taken in totality, we can move mountains (and re-green the planet).
Accordingly, here are a few tips that everyday Florida residents can take to become an active part of the solar solution from a political perspective:
- Donate, if possible, to green energy movements that can compete with legacy oil and gas lobbying
- Volunteer with any of the above-cited solar NGOs advancing the industry
- Prioritize support for any political candidate, from the local to the national level, running on a platform that includes the green energy transition
- “Vote with your dollars,” as the saying goes. Switch, to the extent possible, your energy consumption from fossil fuels to solar power and other green technologies.
We can help with the last one. Contact Compass Solar to learn about the cost-saving, Earth-friendly solar technologies we deliver to Northwest Florida residents.