Opinion

Time to hop aboard green band wagon

TORRENS TALK

Come Jan. 20, going green is going to become much easier. That is when Obama will become our 44th president. He is already highlighting alternative energy as a way to rejuvenate our economy and remove us from dependency on oil imports.

This long, overdue approach can be a boon to not only Washington state, but to our local area. On a recent trip to Spokane, I could see wind farms along the hills bordering I-90. Wind farms produce energy not only for Puget Sound Energy (PSE), but also for the state.

This is thanks to the Department of Natural Resources. The monies raised from such farms go toward supporting our schools, just like the revenue generated from the sale of timber. The potential to raise more funds with more farms with the help of the federal government is far more likely now than it has been in the last eight years. That is a win-win scenario for the citizens of this state.

On the local level, it may take far more effort to get Kitsap positioned to be a place for alternative energy. For a while, it seemed as if Kitsap would be a leader in this area through the SEED project. Then, political problems arose. Now, the latest SEED proposal has been voted down.

It would be very unfortunate if this area, once again, responds to the future with answers from the past. That type of thinking kept Bremerton decades behind for years. New growth and development went to Silverdale while Bremerton declined.

Finally, a sea change occurred and Bremerton has been experiencing a renaissance. New structures have been built and old ones refurbished or redeveloped. There are good reasons to visit downtown Bremerton, unlike before.

It would be smart if someone or some entity resurrected the SEED project idea. In time, the economy will recover and so will the oil and gas prices. Using this time to create businesses that not only utilize green technology, but can grow it to other areas would be taking good advantage of an excellent opportunity.

This is not pie in the sky thinking. There are already people in the area who use solar technology to heat their homes and sell back their excess to PSE. Right now, the nearest company to do this work is in Port Townsend. There is no reason there cannot be a local shop.

There also are movements afoot to get people to do their part as individuals to act more environmentally friendly. People are encouraged to have rain barrels to collect water in the winter for use over the summer. Xeriscape gardening is recommended to reduce the need for watering lawns and plants during the dry months. On-demand hot water systems alleviate the necessity for hot water tanks thereby saving on energy in keeping gallons of water ready to go.

There are many aspects of our lives that can be done in such a way to minimize our impact on the earth and preserve it for future generations. Energy and water conservation are just two ways. Using alternative energy sources such as wind and sun are two others. More ways can be found if business is encouraged to look for them.

That encouragement, finally, will be coming from the top in this country. It can only be hoped it will be followed by such support on the local level.

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