Rural Strategies to Fight Global Warming

First, lose the ‘lectrik cars and solar panel status symbols…

Why? Urban solutions are often inappropriate for rural environments, just like a 600 horsepower tractor is overkill for mowing a small city lot… Heck, will a 600 horsepower tractor even fit in a small city lot? Electric cars make sense for short urban trips, but when you need to haul a literal ton of feed, seed, or tractor parts a hundred miles you need more kilowatt hours than even the biggest Tesla battery can supply. As for solar, we got more and cheaper renewable energy from wind- rooftop home solar costs around $3/watt and produces around 20% of the time, megawatt class wind turbines cost $1.50 to $2/watt and produce power around 40% of the time. Nothin’ wrong with solar and over hundred meter tall wind turbines are kinda impossible to site in the city, but out here we got the space for wind, giving twice the renewable energy for half the price of solar.

Ok, so we got wind that kicks solar’s butt and kicks coal right outa the market, but how do we cut greenhouse gasses without electric cars? Unless we’re able to recharge an electric car entirely with renewable energy, in reality we’re reducing carbon use and greenhouse gas production rather than eliminating such pollution entirely. So how do we do that in a rural environment? For a start we don’t buy new electric cars, maybe not even hybrids, ’cause massive amounts of greenhouse gasses are produced just to make a new car or whatever. Rural folks are resourceful, given how unprofitable farming has been we’ve had to be- So fixing stuff forever is a big part of our skill set, Thus instead of tearing down an old house to build a new totally passive energy powered new home, we’ll rehab the old home with recycled materials, lotsa insulation, and heat it with a stove that burns renewable biomass fuels. In the same manner, we can rebuild an old truck to run on renewable fuels and reduce greenhouse gases more than a dozen hybrids. We can reduce farming energy inputs and greenhouse gas outputs by reduced and even no tillage and use waste energy from one process to power another like my dairy farmer friend does. Still want ‘lectricks? We got railroads, they already emit only a fourth of the greenhouse gases trucks do, and using fixed tracks, they’re easily electrified!

Not only can rural folks reduce greenhouse gases, but our rural environment can suck ’em up to- It’s called sequestration, and while it doesn’t seem to work for coal plants, it works on our farms and forests. We are just beginning to research the potential of bio sequestration, but we know that healthy soil, grasses, and even corn headed to the ethanol plant suck up greenhouse gasses. That’s why the National Farmer’s Union and even Congressman Colin Peterson are promoting cover crops to keep rural america green year round and protect the soil while sequestering greenhouse gasses and reducing fertilizer use.

In conclusion, pushing solar status symbols that cost more than we make in a year and electric cars that cost more than our house fail at best and provoke backlash at worst in rural america. Taking advantage of rural assets like our conservation ethic, rebuilding skills, vast spaces, and biomass assets will motivate rural folks to do their part and then some to stop global warming.

 

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