[Originally published June 25, 2015]
All right. Pope Francis's call for swift action on climate change got me to thinking about leadership toward sustainability. Other world leaders, too, are stepping up to the plate. But it occurred to me that there is a lot that each one of us can do to lead on the very real and mighty micro-levels of our families, neighborhoods, and communities. In other words, I realized that we don't need to be world leaders to benefit the world. But we do need to be leaders and we need to lead by our example ... right here in Yolo County.
The Most Popular Guy at the Party
I then remembered an article I read a while back about the most popular person at a party. The writer asked, "Who do you think the most popular guy at the party is? The one telling tons of jokes? The handsomest? The richest?" No. The most popular guy at the party is the one who listens well to what others are saying...who shows a genuine interest in others. So doesn't it play out that to lead by example requires us also to be genuinely interested in others?
Humans are insatiably curious about and aware of one another. They are interested in other humans. Large hotel chains experimented with signs that asked their guests to reuse their towels to help reduce water usage and wastewater output. One type of sign provided facts about water usage and towels, assuming that the facts alone were enough to compel people to change their behaviors and reuse their towels. The other type of messaging invited the guests to join all the other people who are already helping to save the environment by reusing their towels. Which type of messaging was most effective? The invitation to join the others at the party!
Primary Reasons People Go Solar
For most, economics are the primary motivating force behind the decision to go solar. Freedom from PG&E rate hikes. Greatly reduced or Net Zero energy usage. The fact that solar is clean and green is a great "added benefit." While the economic rationale of going solar is important, there is something more serious at stake here than mere dollars.
What We Do and Don't Do
It's interesting that, when people see their friends and neighbors going solar, they become interested in going solar, too. What we do and don't do influences the people around us. Not doing whatever we can to mitigate climate change runs counter to the environmental and economic intelligence we need to exercise to get out of this Climate Change Pickle.
The Biggest Yes
Yes, going solar usually a sound economic decision. And, yes, it increases the value of your home. And, yes, it frees you from PG&E's ambiguity and rate hikes. But it's bigger than all this. The biggest "yes" is that going solar feels so good because we're taking action to mitigate the damage we've done to the environment, so that Earth can begin to heal. And, by doing so, you invite others to the party. What we do has a big impact. Can you feel the (re)power?