THE BLOG
07/31/2006 09:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Saving the World in My Pajamas

Looking over the feedback, I see a few readers have accused me of whining about the current climate change crisis without offering any real solutions. On the one hand, I think they're missing my point, which is that our global leaders are being woefully stupid and criminally inept in addressing climate change, an issue that threatens millions, if not billions, of people. On the other hand, this is an incredibly difficult and challenging crisis with no easy answers in sight, and we should all be putting our heads together to find the soluti- oh, wait, there they are.

The Rooftop Project: A vast project to cover the roofs of Federal property with solar panels. Yes, it sounds like a whacky, idealistic plan but it actually comes from quite pragmatic principles. The federal government could institute a bidding cycle every three years, offering, say, five billion dollars to the company whose solar cells combined the right balance of cost and efficiency . The promise of this contract (which would hopefully be matched by developing countries like China, India, etc) would ignite massive innovation. These are the principles that Vote Solar have had great success with on the state level, now it's time to being it to the national stage. I haven't run the numbers, but I'm sure the Feds have thousands of acres of flat roof space where they could put these panels. And five billion dollars is what the Defense Department spends on toast.

Similarly, no state or federal employee should be driving a vehicle that gets less than 30 mpg, but that's a no brainer, right? Right. And, in cities, taxi medallions should only given to vehicles with similar efficiencies, right? Right. Next.

Reforestation As another reader pointed out, plants and tress absorb CO2. So what have we been doing for the last fifty years? Cutting down plants and trees, especially in the world's rainforest regions. This has been like cutting out a giant CO2 lung from the planet's surface. There are already some inspiring examples of how reforestation is being

Finding ways to restore the balance, if not the biodiversity, that existed before isn't impossible, especially if we insitituted a very small (say .02%) carbon footprint tax placed on all the items generating global warming. That money could be used in an infinite number of ways to offset the damage we do (right now you can do it voluntarily here.)

Turn Inclination into Action: Getting Rush Limbaugh and Co. to start thinking green probably ain't gonna happen until it's too late (which is too bad because if we worked together, we could have some impressive results.) So, if any of the rest of us are thinking about doing something, we should just take that next step: write the letter, buy the hybrid, recycle the can, compost the apple core, phone the congressman, start a movement, and, or, etc.

Finally, The Chart: There's a beautiful chart in both Al Gore's movie and his book "An Inconvenient Truth", it's near the end and it shows how CO2 gasses have risen over the last century, and then, with a mega cool rainbow graphic, it shows how they can be lowered, each color of the rainbow representing either increased conservation, alternative energy, greater fuel mileage, etc. Unfortunately, I know that people will most likely attack the chart for the rainbow nature of its design (hippie, idealistic, subliminal reference to leprechaun's) instead of embracing the clarity, truth and even hope that is embedded within it. So, if it's still playing, check out Mr. Gore's film, 'cause guess what, the theater is probably air-conditioned. And call me a hypocrite, but these days, that's nice.

There are other things too, but it's a little early for me to start thinking about cow methane and birth control. Actually, right now I've got to get on the old monkey suit and go out to greet the day. It's supposed to hit the mid 90's today, 100's tomorrow. Sweet.