Concern for the environment is a hot topic in today’s world. Is our planet getting warmer? How does deforestation contribute? Where will our power come from? How do hydroelectric proejcts impact salmon? Do we have too many cars using too much oil?
I paid attention over 30 years ago when we had the first “energy crisis” in the 1970s. Since then I’ve been sensitive to my environmental footprint on the earth. I tend to think long-term, wondering about the impact of my actions on future generations. Environmental issues may not produce images you want to hang on the wall of your living room, but they’re important.
Washington state, despite its reputation for being gray and rainy west of the Cascades, is a good location for distributed solar energy production. We installed over 4,000 watts of photovoltaic panels on the roof of our previous Bellingham roof in May 2008 and produced about 86% of our total electric load in the first four years.
Wind energy plants are rapidly coming online in several areas in eastern Washington and Oregon. The Wild Horse Wind Project east of Ellensburg, owned and operated by Puget Sound Energy, provides part of the power we consume in Bellingham.
Clearcut logging, hydroelectric dams, congested highways, and coal-fired power plants all have impacts on our environment and way of life.