Last winter nearly a million and a half homes in California went without electric power for as long as two weeks.
The cost of electricity rose steadily because of the policies adopted by the present administration. Today, the cost of electric power in the United States is tied in to the cost of oil like two Siamese twins joined at the hip and head.
Last month California was hit by a wave of heat that killed the elderly. I In California the total was one hundred and thirty. The mostly elderly died at home, some of them had air conditioners that were kept turned off. The elderly, on fixed incomes, could not afford the cost of the electricity to run their units. These elderly and not so elderly died along with their pets.. It was an ugly way to go.
A few days ago, Americans who finally managed escape from Lebanon are trickling back home. Americans were last out because our embassy there ignored their need while such countries as England, Italy and Japan made free emergency transport available for their citizens. Our country had to be dissuaded from charging Americans fleeing for fear of their lives. This also delivered a very different message than we as American expect to hear from those in government.
Your electric company will be quick to tell you they are not liable, and they will be right. Government allows electric companies quasi-governmental status because it deems their interests as superior to those of the people. Government accepts no liability itself and extends that benefit to its friends.
We have learned that it does not take foreign terrorists to put us at risk, our government has done that themselves. We are vulnerable, and as was the case in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the real answer is not government, it is facing the problem as they exists and solving them ourselves from within our communities, churches, and civic organizations.
There are many problems but at the top of the list is energy dependence, especially when the lack of affordable energy kills. Those most on the margin are at risk of their very lives.
We need to get serious about getting off the grid and ensure that our energy needs are met not through this system of tenuous and vulnerable cables but through the means now available that both lowers the cost and secures our continued needs over time. The technologies to accomplish this exist today, they are available as well as affordable, thanks to American innovators and inventors.
You will hear those in authority say this cannot be done, but notice whose interests they have been representing over the past months and years. The emergency infrastructure in New York on September 11th, 2001 completely broke down. It was volunteers who brought relief and ensured that what needed to be done was accomplished. As Californians we have seen this over and over as emergencies bring us together to ensure that our families and communities survive.
It is not rocket science, it is simple common sense to use what is available even when those who would profit from the status quo try hard to dissuade us.
We expected solar to become standard in the 70s. We are still waiting and now the costs are bankrupting ordinary Americans and our elderly are dying.
More than eighty-one of our elderly died just in California. Grandmothers, grandfathers, Uncles, Aunts, people we knew, with whom we worshiped and lived. We can not bring them back but we can make sure it does not happen again.