A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Friday, February 01, 2013

U.S. Falling Behind In Solar Energy

At the turn of the century it looked like the United States was going to be a leader in solar energy (the ultimate in clean and renewable energy production). In 2001, this country produced 27% (more than a quarter) of all the world's solar panels. But with not enough money going into solar energy research and some companies going out of business, production in the United States has dropped to only about 5%. Now other nations have taken the lead. Production in Taiwan has risen from 1% to 15%, and production in China has jumped from 1% to 47%.

The United States seems determined to ride the fossil fuel production until the end -- even though we know it will run out (and in the case of oil, they may be soon) and pollutes the environment. Americans have always been afraid of any kind of change. It took many years of hard fighting to get started on women's rights, racial civil rights, and homosexual rights -- and those battles still have not been completed. It looks like the same must happen with energy production. Americans will have to be dragged into the future, kicking and screaming, and begging for their fossil fuel fix.

Americans like to think of themselves as a forward-thinking country, but the truth is that most Americans aren't forward-thinking at all. They cling to the past with a ferocious tenacity -- even after it becomes obvious that the old ways are hurting the country and its citizens. We need to wake up and realize that the "good old days" were just a myth. The best days lay ahead of us -- after we dump fossil fuels, and embrace the many clean and renewable types of energy (including solar).

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