Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Carbon Nation"

I saw an important documentary today called, "Carbon Nation". Director, Peter Byck, did a terrific job of explaining the problem in the first 15 minutes, that of too much CO2 and other global warming gasses being emitted into the atmosphere. This part won't convince your typical hard-core denier, but it's compelling to any rational person.

The rest of the film consists of a series of interviews with committed people who are tackling various aspects of energy from all angles. You come away energized to act, because you know how serious the problem is, but more importantly, you have just seen a lot of people having significant effect on their part of the problem. They give you all kinds of great ideas how you can help.

You meet a one-armed Texan who organized his local area farmers into building the world's largest wind energy cooperative, a military strategist making huge gains in reducing military energy waste, Van Jones, The Man when it comes to creating green jobs for those who need them most.

Our good friends, Jim Woolsey and Ed Kjaer expound on global security and utility side solutions respectively. There are many more, and every one of them is making real gains against this massive problem.

There are some poignant moments between some of these people and their fathers. It's almost as if these elders were taking the place of Mother Earth in that their progeny, all too aware of the dangers to their planet, were trying to save them from death. The severity of the issue compels an all out effort.

Peter drove home the point that we have to "PUT A PRICE ON CARBON" (my shouting). This is the most important take away from the film. Without it, we make scant progress.

I was disappointed there was no mention of population. In the Q&A, Peter said they really wanted to discuss it, but to do it justice would have taken too much time. I understand, but in every discussion on this subject, we need to always bring it up.

Watch the terrific trailer here and take action of your own by seeing this movie in a theater if you can. If not, their website has a button for arranging your own screening. Invite some friends over, or better, get your local middle school and high school to show all the kids. That's where we make some progress.

From their website:

How you can help Carbon Nation...
We are thankful for all the support you have shown over the past few years and thrilled that our movie opens in theaters this February.

Many of you have asked how you can help promote Carbon Nation.

We have the perfect solution - organize a group to go see the film opening weekend in your city! You can buy tickets for your employees, sponsor a local youth group or religious group, or buy tickets for your child's class or school! If you can organize a group to go see the film on opening weekend in your city it will help get the word out about our optimistic and solutions based film. All you have to do is email and she will facilitate your group purchase with the theatre from start to finish.

Here is our schedule – the film will run for a week in each city:
2/10/11 - Premiere - New York, NY– Film Society of Lincoln Center
2/11/11 - New York, NY– Cinema Village
2/18/11 - Los Angeles, CA - Laemmle Sunset 5 Theatre
2/25/11 – Austin, TX – Regal Arbor Cinema
3/4/11 – Portland, OR – Regal Fox Tower Stadium
3/4/11 – Seattle, WA – SIFF Cinema
3/11/11 - San Francisco, CA - Landmark Opera Plaza Cinema

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Revisiting the scene of the crime

Chelsea Sexton organized a great meeting of Volt drivers yesterday at the GM training facility where Plug In America held its 28 day vigil back in 2005. Chelsea and others were loaned Volts as part of GM's "Customer Advisory Board", to give feedback on the car while it was being rolled out. Many others who have already purchased and taken possession of their Volts also showed up. In addition, Chelsea invited all EV drivers to participate, so around 100 folks showed up in 44 EVs.

Scenes from the film, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" of dozens of EV1s loaded on 13 transport trucks headed for the crusher in the AZ desert elicited strong emotions from viewers of the film.
Linda Nicholes, Plug In America's first president, is seen here holding back tears and saluting the cars as they leave for their fate in the desert.

It was hard for us to see back then how things would pan out exactly, although we knew the end game would be plug-in cars. We won some battles and lost some battles, but the war has been decided decisively in our favor.

The event drew 44 EVs consisting of some of the old RAVs, a Chevy S-10, a conversion and lots of Volts, LEAFs and a coil of Tesla Roadsters. After an hour spent relishing the moment, we mimicked the exit of the transport trucks with our own EVs turning right instead of left onto Riverside Drive with the destination Irwindale, CA where Southern California Edison has their Smart Energy Center. There, we were treated to a long row of Coulomb Technology charge stations situated under a sizable solar PV array. When I arrived, all the charge stations were occupied, so a friendly Volt driver, who didn't need to charge because he had the range extension, made room for my LEAF. Once hooked up and sipping sunshine at 3.3 kW, I knew I'd have plenty of juice to make the trip home.

SCE's, Ed Kjaer, arranged for his efficiency troops to give all of us a great tour of their smart grid display. If you live in the SoCal region, this is a must see. SoCal Edison is probably the most progressive utility when it comes to integrating plug-in cars into an advanced and efficient grid. It's not just the cars, but all your appliances that will be tied into the devices that will tell you how much your energy costs at a given moment, and how much money you will spend for each electrical device. I can't wait till everyone is hooked up to these devices and we can start reducing the horrible waste of which so many Americans are guilty.