It is always wonderful to see an idea, event or movement celebrate a given milestone or promote a specific concept. I enjoyed watching the various Earth Day celebrations yesterday in my hometown of San Diego. Each year, the event brings government, businesses and the general public together to raise awareness of the impact our presence and wastefulness has on the environment. Over the years, the associated fairs and workshops have taken great care to show individuals and companies how to improve their energy use and reduce their carbon footprint.
The problem is that we can’t wait for another 365 days until Earth Day 2011. Like any movement, momentum comes and goes. And we must capture the excitement and bring about meaningful change now.
Earth Day got me thinking. This year marks more than forty years of Earth Day. Are we more respectful of our planet than we were decades ago? More concerned about how we coexist with our surroundings? Is the impact we are having on the planet diminishing in any way, shape or form? There are signs of improvement – the automobile industry is an example where we’ve seen some fundamental (if not sufficient) change. Having observed some changes, I must admit that my industry – solar energy – is still far from the level of adoption that many hoped it could attain some forty years ago. And it is certainly far from where we could be.
Having said that, there is one truth we must all except: fundamental change takes courage and investment. We have got to allocate hard dollars commensurate with the change we hope to realize.
It is encouraging to see local, state and Federal level subsidies and tax credits introduced to promote solar power. They are not necessarily implemented as rapidly as possible or promoted in the most effective way, but their presence is somewhat meaningful. Companies like us here at AMSOLAR Corporation are aiming to maximize the benefits of these programs by introducing innovative finance solutions. These solutions increase adoption of solar power for our partners – schools throughout the United States.
Earth Day can be as much about awareness as action. To be "green" is to commit not just to concepts but to change. The green movement shines on Earth Day, but its impact must be felt the other 364 days of the year. So while ideas, awareness and environmentally-friendly folks celebrating each other’s achievements may shine on Earth Day, we need to go further. The way to start is simple: couple this interest with the investment of hard, green dollars (and lots of them) in a focused way that ensures lasting change that benefits all of us today – and even more of us tomorrow.
About the Author: Joshua Weinstein is the Managing Partner of AMSOLAR Corporation (www.amsolarcorp.com), a premier solar solutions partner for educational institutions. The company’s AMSOLAR GIVING program promotes renewable energy awareness, education and exploration at schools throughout the United States.