When in the Course Of Energy Development, it becomes necessary for a people to dissolve the technological and political bonds which have connected them to dwindling sources of dangerous, polluting energy controlled by a few corporations and to embrace a decentralized plentiful clean, and renewable energy source more compatible with the Laws of Nature and out Democracy, a decent respect to the opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the transition.
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That solar energy — including sunlight, wind, biological matter, and falling water — is a natural, renewable, and relatively non-polluting resouce;
That solar technologies, which function best on a small, decentralized scale must not be monopolized or economically controlled by any group;
That, in addition to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, all people are entitled to a place in the sun, and that reasonable solar access may not be denied without due process of Law or just compensation;
That any attempts to purchase new solar inventions in order to suppress them or delay their use are wrong and must be prevented;
That no utility company should unfairly raise rates or otherwise discriminate against customers who substitute solar energy for power the utility supplies;
That the government must consider using solar energy in all of its construction, purchasing, lending, or other activities affecting energy use;
That a solar economy, which will provide millions more jobs than will "conventional" power production, can only flourish if taxing and spending policies at all levels of government are changed to assist rather than hinder the solar industry and solar users;
That all solar users must be shielded from unfair losses through reasonable warranties, minimum standards, and other consumer protection measures.
Prudence will dictate that energy systems long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and experience has shown that mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations threatens to fatally harm both the environment and the economy, it is our right, it is our duty, to throw off such an Energy System, and to provide new guards for our future security.
The history of the present energy system is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations all having the direct effect of establishing energy control by the few over the many. To prove this, let facts be submitted to the world:
By virtue of their immense wealth and size, the energy companies have achieved an economic and political power greater than each of the fifty states and many nations;
Our air is fouled with noxious fumes and our waters are spoiled with oily slime and poisons;
Our safety is threatened by the radiation of nuclear fission, and our liberty by its potential for terrorist use;
The majestic mountains of Appalachia and the bounteous plains of America have been desolated by strip mining;
The import of foreign oil leads us to bankruptcy and the tyranny of OPEC;
Because of unparalleled centralization and huge capital outlays that produce few jobs, the energy companies have constricted job growth;
We, therefore the people of the United States of America, do solemnly publish and declare that we are, and of Right ought to be, Free and Independent from non-renewable energy systems controlled by a few corporations, and we declare a new energy order dependent upon solar and other decentralized, renewable energy systems.
This declaration originally appeared in the February 11, 1978 edition of Environmental Action, the bi-weekly publication of Environmental Action, Inc.
*Environmental Action calls the above a "Declaration of Solar Independence"; but MOTHER EARTH NEWS thinks it makes more sense this way. The EA folks — good people that they are — say they don't care what we call it, as long as we help spread the word!