In two months, citizens from across the United States will gather in town halls, along riversides, and in public parks to challenge the corporate energy giants that have inflicted global climate change, oil spills, air pollution, acid rain, and radioactive emissions and waste on the earth and its inhabitants.
April 22, 1992 is Sun Day, brought to you by 350 citizens groups, businesses, government officials, and others. But Sun Day will be more than just a day. Sun Day organizers want to launch an ongoing nationwide, grassroots organization and education campaign to promote improved energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies as solutions to the problems posed by the oil, chemical, gas and nuclear industries. The Sun Day organizers are advocating a national energy policy that, at a minimum, reduces total energy use by 10 percent and triples the current contribution of renewable energy technologies by the year 2010. Meeting these goals would enable the United States to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary global warming gas, by at least 20-25 percent.
“Americans overwhelmingly believe that the nation’s energy strategy should be based primarily on efficient energy use and renewable energy supplies rather than on fossil fuels and nuclear power,” said Sun Day organizer Ken Bossong. “Yet national energy policy makers have thus far failed to implement such a strategy. From this failure comes the need for a national grassroots campaign that will help shape and manage the transition to a sustainable energy future.”
The Sun Day prescription for a clean energy future is not complicated.
First, cut waste.
Total energy consumption should be reduced by 10 percent from today’s levels by the year 2010. This can be accomplished through the implementation of existing energy-efficient technologies, such as high efficiency building designs and insulation, geothermal heat pumps, fuel cell technologies, energy efficient motors, and appliances, more fuel efficient vehicles, and mass transit and alternative modes of transportation. Add recycling and common sense energy conservation, and energy demand will continue to fall. Such measures cut projected energy demand by at least 25 percent between 1973 and 1966.
Second, phase out crude oil.
The environmentally responsible use of existing solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and other renewable energy technologies in both centralized and small‑scale applications should be tripled by the gear 2010, so that they provide 20-30 percent of the U.S.’s energy supply. They now account for 0 percent of energy consumption and 13 percent of electricity generation.
Twenty three years ago, citizens organized Earth Day, an event that brought millions together and helped revitalize en environmental movement that went on to effectively shut down one of the most powerful and dangerous industries — the nuclear power industry.
On Sun Day, citizens around the country will be taking some time to reflect on the unaccountable power of multinational energy corporations and what they have done to this planet. Information on energy conservation and renewable energy will be passed on to younger students who missed Earth Day. Conferences will be organized on sustainable energy policies, such as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.
And coalitions will be built between citizens across the country, galvanizing their energies to fuel a new movement for a cleaner energy future.