News from MOTHER: Renewables to the Rescue

The $2.2 trillion spent on the Iraq war could have built enough renewable energy to meet all of our energy needs!
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
April/May 2007
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Invest in Wind, not War.

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Earth Day 2007 is approaching, and some still doubt that human activities are causing global warming. But many more are now deeply concerned, and there is a growing consensus that major policy changes are urgently needed to stabilize our climate. April 14 has been designated as a National Day of Climate Action, and a new group, Step It Up 2007, is helping to organize hundreds of local rallies. Tens of thousands of citizens will join together on the 14th to press our elected officials to “step it up” and stop global warming. To learn how you can contribute and to find the events nearest you, visit

And if you have friends who still doubt that it’s possible to end our addiction to oil and shift to clean, secure renewable energy, show them this tidy little fact that the ace researchers at the Earth Policy Institute calculated for us:

According to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the Iraq war will cost American taxpayers $2,200,000,000,000 — that’s 2.2 trillion dollars. If, instead, we invested that $2.2 trillion in wind power, it would give us enough energy to provide roughly 150 percent of our energy needs. That’s right — if we spent that amount of money on renewable energy just once, it would provide more than enough power to replace all our fossil fuel energy production — including coal, oil and gas — as well as nuclear! This shows that a serious investment in renewables would pay giant dividends for years to come, including reducing air pollution, curbing global warming and permanently ending our dependence on fossil fuels!

Realistically, shifting all our natural gas heating systems, gasoline-powered vehicles and coal-burning power plants to wind-generated electric power may not be our best option. In fact, our future energy sources will likely be quite diverse. But the point is that renewable technologies can provide all the energy we need at a price tag we can afford. Wind power is already competitive with natural gas; solar photovoltaics are close behind; hybrids are hot; and battery technology is improving rapidly. What we have to do is step it up and insist that our tax dollars are spent wisely.

We urge all of you to do everything you can to spread the word that renewables are ready and waiting to come to our rescue. The Internet lets good news spread so widely and so quickly that a huge shift in public understanding can happen very fast, both in the United States and around the globe. And speaking of the globe, we are offering a $5 discount on the Earth Flag this month. The flags make a vibrant symbol at rallies (a section of white plastic plumbing pipe makes an easy flag pole), and you can even add a spinning pinwheel to represent the slogan we’re suggesting for this year’s Earth Day: Invest in Wind, not War.

P.S. In case you’ve forgotten how to make a pinwheel, we’ve posted directions here.

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