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Empowerment to the individual
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Dear Editor,

It is the underlying force of democracy and what we like to think it means to “be American.”

The early settlers knew pure self-sufficiency, but soon found that groups of individuals could interconnect more efficiently. In the 19th century, immigrants worked in servitude, but nurtured the dream to “own their own” business, store or farm. The industrial revolution transformed American society into a nation of “workers” with huge corporate “employers” gaining control of nearly every aspect of our lives ... as well as our representative government.

With this preface, I would like to suggest a way we can again experience some measure of self-empowerment in a world where individuals suffer grievous insecurity and constant controlling forces over our lives. Many of us, wealthy and poor, are complaining about high gas prices and the increases to our utility bills. We are allowing ourselves to be told that (because of our greed and profligacy) we have no choice but to engage in destructive, dangerous and expensive energy production, in order to ensure our survival and way of life. A few years ago, this was probably true. Fortunately, today it is not.

An exciting era has begun ... and if we recognize it, we may again experience elements of the “American Dream” that are disappearing:

1. Self-sufficiency (individual energy production)

2. The power to determine and control our own destiny

3. Opportunities for creative innovation (which will spark pure desire to learn and excel)

4. Reasserting power of the people in government

Right now, Americans are saying “I want to do something.” Right now, I am saying “You can do something” — something profound, bold and pioneering. You can install rooftop solar.

(The details can be googled and researched, but suffice it to say here that in the last several years, the feasibility of individual rooftop solar has improved dramatically)

By doing this, we can tell our power companies, our government, and soon our oil companies that we intend to control where and how we get our energy. And, we can combine “market capitalism” with “for the people/by the people” government to create jobs and educational excitement to transition us into the “new energy era.”

New technology can and must take us far beyond the solar tech of today. However, we can create the push necessary to end the stagnation of our government and the stubborn, profit-driven mindset of our corporations.

All we need to do is take off our blinders, set our minds free to learn, and embrace the change that is our generation’s destiny.    (google “solar in Savannah” to read more)

Claudia Collier,
Community organizer and clean energy activist