Sierra Club Presentation on Solar Energy: Closing Statement

Sierra Club Presentation on Solar Energy – Louisville

2 ½ billion years ago a little single-celled bacterium invented the solar collector.   At the time, there were no plants and no animals on the Earth.   An ocean of solar energy was falling on the ground every second of every day, as it does now, but life did not know how to use it.  Life, however, does not stand still.  It always finds new ways to live.  If one way does not work, it finds a way that does.

That little bacterium with its blue-green solar collectors learned how to use energy from the sun to make energy for life.  Later, it was engulfed by larger cells and became the chloroplasts in every living plant cell on Earth.  Through the foliage of plants it has provided food and free oxygen for the evolution of animals and people. 

The Life you see around you – the plants and trees and birds and insects – are all here because of these little bacteria and their solar collectors that became parts of plant cells.  The grass beneath your feet is a structural support for little solar collectors.  You are standing on solar collectors.

The energy you feel in the muscles of your body is from the sun.  The breath you take is from the sun.  The sun that shines over our heads now was shining billions of years ago when the force of life rose from the Earth and opened its foliage to the light.  The same force of life stirs within us now, in the current hour, to reach out and harvest the sun’s energy – to evolve new ways for people to live on the Earth. 

Direct solar energy is not the same as fossil fuel energy.  It is not compact and explosive like coal or petroleum.  Bringing it into our lives is not just a matter of tax credits and fluorescent light bulbs.  To adapt to it we will have to change the way we understand ourselves.  But that is what life does.  Life that lives is life that perceives what is real and makes the changes that have to be made.  Life has to have a vision of itself in this world.

The tall buildings in our great cities – they are mere trunks and branches.  We want to see them with leaves and foliage.  We want to see them with solar collectors growing out of their walls and rooftops.  We want a vision, today, that will become real, a vision that will bring us into harmony with the rest of the living world.

That is why we have assembled today.  We are here not merely to protest the destructive habits of the present, but to create new visions of who we are and where we must go.  We are life.  Let us proclaim it.  Let us create new awareness of how we must live with every other being on the planet.

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