What will it take to go green?

In the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, that nation embraced more solar and wind and took a hard look at nuclear power. Apparently, it's going to take a similar disaster in our nation to get the United States to make the switch to green energy.

Not only did our regulators decide to keep building more nuclear power plants, but many local lawmakers are blocking residents from going green. And, several states are actually preventing voters from regulating fossil fuels in their communities.

Voters in Fort Collins, Colorado approved a five-year ban on fracking within their city limits, but District Judge Gregory Lammons overturned that ban because it “would substantially impede the state's interest in oil and gas production. Meanwhile, some homeowners in Plano, Texas are being told that they can't install solar panels in new subdivisions, because the developers think that panels are ugly and bad for business. And, don't forget about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's recent decision to allow nuclear waste to be stored above ground, which opened the door for new plants to be constructed.

It couldn't be more obvious that developers and lawmakers would rather do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry than fight for what's important. When it comes to saving our environment, it's hard enough to fight against the massive Oil Lobby. Our lawmakers and regulators should not be making it harder to go green. It took a massive disaster to wake Japan up to the dangers of dirty fuel, and it's not like we haven't had our own horrible events here in the states.

It shouldn't take another BP Spill or Fukushima to get lawmakers on board with making the switch to green energy. If they won't help us move to the energy of the future, come this November, it's time to replace them with lawmakers and regulators who will.


RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 8 years 37 weeks ago

Consumer Unions

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 37 weeks ago

The problem here is Citizen's United. The recent failure of the Senate to approve the amendment necessary to overturn Citizens United is a disastrous sign of things to come. As long as BIG money controls our politicians nothing short of an environmental catastrophe will make any difference in our way of life. Our representatives have become wholly owned subsidiaries of the Big Oil industry; and, until that invisible hand is removed from our government things are only going to get worse.

There are two ways to make people turn green. The easy way or the hard way. Either way turning green is inevitable. Simply make turning green easier and cheaper; or, make not turning green harder and more expensive. There are no other sources of motivation. Only by removing Big Oil money from politics can we go the easy route. Until we do that we are doomed to create our own environmental crisis. That is why the best course of action is to focus all our efforts on cleaning up the money in politics. Any other endeavour is a waste of time and energy that we cannot afford.

Lloyd Lutterman's picture
Lloyd Lutterman 8 years 37 weeks ago

A shame most want to live in plastic world and not a world built with hemp

Legend 8 years 37 weeks ago

In reference to nuclear waste being stored above ground: Virtually all nuclear plants in the USA are now storing spent fuel in dry cask storage at the nuclear sites. These canisters are licensed for 40 years which is kicking the can down the road. The new plants under construction in GA and SC have minimal (5 yrs) spent fuel storage and then have to go to dry cask storage. This was designed to lower construction costs. All of these dry casks are a temporay measure. Someday someone will have to deal with removing them or changing them. I should mention at great cost. The nuclear industry has had 50 years to come up with a solution to this mess and can only kick the can down the road.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 37 weeks ago

Lloyd Lutterman ~ You can make plastic out of Hemp too; and, it's biodegradable! You can also make cloths, paper, medicine, building materials and high grade fuel--all far superior in quality to petroleum based products! Read all about it:


Hemp is the perfect renewable natural source of solar energy!

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 8 years 37 weeks ago

Sadly, according to Dawn Stover, contributing editor at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, even if we do manage to go green: http://thebulletin.org/myth-renewable-energy.

Karl Smiley's picture
Karl Smiley 8 years 37 weeks ago

What do I think? I think these guys must not give a rat's ass if their kids and grandkids survive or not.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 37 weeks ago

sandlewould ~ I think Dawn Stover under estimates the potential for biofuel grown from Hemp. Hemp is capable of being grown in any soil condition, in any environment, and in any US state including Alaska. It can be grown in crop rotation (enriching the soil in the process), in or around vegetation and forestation, and uses very limited water or other resources. (Just ask any narcotrafficker or DEA agent.) As a source of paper Hemp would save forests. As a source of fuel Hemp would help to clean the air; and, provide a source of natural renewable solar energy that isn't dependant on rare earths.

Although I agree with most of her article, I think her overview on biomass is flawed. Thanks for sharing though. Good food for thought!

RFord's picture
RFord 8 years 37 weeks ago

What will it take to go green? A lot of material, hard work and money. time's a-wastin, so let's get with it! Oh yea, votes, it's gonna take a lot of votes too!

SteveS's picture
SteveS 8 years 37 weeks ago

What will it take to go green? Educating the people, electing smart legislators (state and federal), and passing legislation that provides subsidies to solar and wind and ends subsidies for fossil fuels.

Here in Wisconsin we're fighting the Enbridge tar-sands pipelines, the utilities that are trying to raise rates to fulfill their long-term contacts for coal, and the state environmental agencies like the Departmnet of Natural Resources, which has been captured by climate deniers appointed by Governor Walker.

This struggle will likely be a long one, but it starts with educating the voters.

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 37 weeks ago

Why stop there Steve. Why not move to stop the 2.2 million barrels a day that are coming from the tar sands already every day. Of course your energy prices will double but at least you will be green.

Greenthumb's picture
Greenthumb 8 years 37 weeks ago

Fifty seven percent of eleigible voters turn out for presidential elections but only 40% turn out for mid terms. Most voting districts throughout our nation are configured to deliver either a democratic or republican representative without contention. Most political ads don't really matter since most districts are already decided before the election. The problem is voter apathy and no political ads (funded by tax breaks for the wealthy) will stimulate that.

I believe that only a BIG CRISIS will get Americans' attention. Otherwise they'll continue to be distracted by anything else than politics or other unpleasantness - and our media provides a HUGE MENU of endless diversions to keep the voters pleasantly distracted.

When these crises enventually come (and they will), I can already hear the whining chorus of Americans screaming, "WHY weren't we warned??? Why weren't we told about this???" But, if a message is delivered over and over again and "no one is listening ... does it make a sound?"

I really appreciate such an attentive choir to preach to. Thank you for listening.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 37 weeks ago

Hey no problem, Greenthumb. Preach away.

Like various other corporate fascist agendas, this one conveniently ignores the impact to be had on the environment and people’s health. Just one more variation on the same old theme: profits before people, wildlife and the environment. We’re being set up like guinea pigs or pawns on a chessboard.

Citizens United is indeed a major culprit. But underlying this entire humungous friggin’ racket is corporate crony capitalism, or corporate fascism. And voila! Now there's a billionaire class.

Replcing do-nothing senators with ones who will remove the “invisible hand” of corporate fascism from matters of governace is hit-or-miss. Maybe they’ll do what they said they’ll do, maybe they won’t. We don’t really know ’til they’re in office. - AIW

Harry Hempy's picture
Harry Hempy 8 years 37 weeks ago

What will it take to go green?

Government that is not monopolized by Democrats and Republicans - two parties subjugated to the will of corporate America.

Thom, I disagree with your stance that taking over the Democratic Party at the grassroots level is the way to a more democratic society that can respond to threat of climate change. America's two-party system is the root of the problem. Remember, George Washington considered two-party government to be 'an inherent despotism'.

What will it take? In Colorado, about 700,000 votes for Green Party gubernatorial candidate Harry Hempy (me) will produce three-party government in which I will work to end the domination of state policy by gas and oil corporations.

Trying to reform the Democratic Party isn't going to do it.

Harry Hempy

Green Candidate for Governor of Colorado


DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 37 weeks ago

The largest city in Bernie Sander's state of Vermont, Burlington, has just announced that it now gets 100% of it's electrical energy from renewable--wind, water, and biomass--sources.

Way to go Bernie! Let Vermont lead the way!


DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 37 weeks ago

Harry Hempy ~ I don't live in Colorado Sir; however, if I did rest assured you would have my vote and support. The best of luck! I feel confident that the good people of Colorado will stand up and take notice.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 8 years 37 weeks ago

I do agree w/ the Hemp issue, whole hartedly...& it doesn't mean we don't keep tryin'!

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 8 years 37 weeks ago

We'll develop green energy, Kend, that won't be expensive.

Ou812's picture
Ou812 8 years 37 weeks ago

Solar is a good investment. Right off the top, the Feds will give you a 30% tax credit. On a $25,000 install I receive over $8,000. The State of Md kicks in another $1,000. (Other states also offer rebates as well). Solar Renewable Energy Credits (Srec's) add an additional amount per megawatt. (I generate 8 megawatts per year and sell them at approx $120.00/ megawatt). Net metering is the frosting on the cake, reducing my electrical bill to almost 0. My ROI ( return on investment ) is between 10-15%. None of this includes the added increased value of my house. This is not smoke and mirrors folks it's an all around good investment.

scottcs's picture
scottcs 8 years 36 weeks ago

What will it take to go green ?

Not the two ruling institutions masquerading as political parties. Enough of the evil of the two lessers.

You want green ? Register and vote Green.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"In an age rife with media-inspired confusion and political cowardice, we yearn for a decent, caring, deeply human soul whose grasp of the problems confronting us provides a light by which we can make our way through the quagmire of lies, distortions, pandering, and hollow self-puffery that strips the American Dream of its promise. How lucky we are, then, to have access to the wit, wisdom, and willingness of Thom Hartmann, who shares with us here that very light, grown out of his own life experience."
Mike Farrell, actor, political activist, and author of Just Call Me Mike and Of Mule and Man
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"Beneath the success and rise of American enterprise is an untold history that is antithetical to every value Americans hold dear. This is a seminal work, a godsend really, a clear message to every citizen about the need to reform our country, laws, and companies."
Paul Hawken, coauthor of Natural Capitalism and author of The Ecology of Commerce
From Screwed:
"I think many of us recognize that for all but the wealthiest, life in America is getting increasingly hard. Screwed explores why, showing how this is no accidental process, but rather the product of conscious political choices, choices we can change with enough courage and commitment. Like all of Thom’s great work, it helps show us the way forward."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While