The “Road” to a solar tomorrow…

Sunset Metrotampa

Finding ways to agree on how to end America’s dependence of foreign energy has been the topic of many a discussion centered around this year’s election. A group from Worchester Polytechnic Institute is researching ways to turn existing roads into solar arrays.

While the technology may be completely impossible for all I know (the results of the study are not yet released), the idea is interesting because it proposes a future that is much like our present, only sustainable. I’m one of many people who see the need for a sustainable future, but also appreciates my current lifestyle and wants to keep elements of it. How compatible are these two ideas through, and how much money are we wasting trying to accommodate unsustainable lifestyles? Turning our roadways into solar arrays still leaves us with the question of fuel for our use of those roadways.

A little (rather unAmerican) part of me deep inside believes that we have gone too far down our current path as a civilization and that only radical change will preserve a semblance of what we know as planet Earth now for future generations. I have faith that humanity will survive and continue, but I don’t know if I want to bring another generation into a world that could start looking more and more like the opening scenes of the movie Blade Runner.

I read a book several years back by Ernest Callenback titled Ecotopia that described a society created by the Pacific Northwest after breaking away from the United States. The society was radically different from what is considered typical American lifestyle. The narrator of the story is an American journalist seeing the new way of living through his own portal to reality. A must-read if you haven’t yet.

The question that the book, and today’s story about turning our current roadways into solar arrays, both leave me with is: How deeply does our way of life need to change to reach a point where it is sustainable?