"Renewable Energy and Public Power: The Time is Now"
by Dr. Donald Aitken, senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists
Thursday, April 19, 2001 at 7 pm
Bay Model Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito
The Marin Group is co-sponsoring a free presentation to initiate discussion of steps we can take to deal with the energy crisis.
For decades conservationists have insisted that we cannot remain dependent on fossil fuels for energy, but in the current "energy crisis" many are feeling unprepared.
Most of us have experienced no more than one three-hour blackout, but this (or the threat of it) has been enough to threaten a half century of conservation initiatives. Politicians have broken free from all restraints. Governor Davis, for example, has entered into secret contracts to buy energy and will not divulge the prices or other details. He has proposed to fast-track approval for new power plants, and it is feared that his timetable will not allow adequate opportunity for environmental review. President Bush has used the "crisis" as the occasion to renege on his campaign promise to reduce CO2 pollution and to further his campaign for oil-drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
These attacks on environmental protection have led to a widespread sense of powerlessness. A coalition of environmental and sustainability groups, therefore, is co-sponsoring this presentation to begin a public examination of concrete local initiatives that can protect the environment as well as individual consumers.
Dr. Aitken is preeminently qualified to kick off the discussion. A mesmerizing speaker, he is currently the secretary of the International Solar Energy Society and founding director of the Department of Energy's Western Solar Energy Center. A former staff physicist at Stanford, Dr. Aitken founded and chaired the department of environmental studies at San Jose State. He was also a co-founder of Friends of the Earth.
Dr. Aitken helped launch the first Earth Day by debating then-secretary of the interior Walter Hickel about oil-drilling in Alaska and energy policy. Again, 31 years later, Alaskan oil is being promoted as an energy solution, and again we are asking Dr. Aitken to use this Earth Day to offer more realistic solutions. We have asked him to discuss alternative-energy programs and to evaluate the possibility of establishing public power districts.
Come to Dr. Aitken's presentation with your ideas and help make the Sierra Club and its environmental allies a major force in creating sound energy policies and programs.
Event co-sponsors are Sustainable Marin, the Bay Model Center, the Marin Conservation League, the Environmental Forum, and the Sierra Club Marin Group. Admission is free, with donations accepted at the door. For more information call (415)663-1796.
The Sierra Club's Bay Chapter and Marin Group have designated energy as a top priority for the coming year. We are seeking members to participate actively in Club programs to promote environmentally sound, consumer-oriented energy policies. There will be a sign-up sheet at the event, or call (415) 663-1796.