Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Solartopia - Pete Seeger sings a vision of a wind and solar powered world



A friend sent me the link to this youtube video song - Solartopia - produced in 2010. It was good to see Pete Seeger still singing such topical and empowering songs. Songs easy to sing along with and be motivated by. An positive climate change anthem with a vision for a better future for ourselves and our children.


In 1967 my parents bought their first record player. Peter Seeger's Broadside Ballads Vol 2 was one of the first LP records I listened to at home, and I still treasure it. Pete Seeger's songs spoke to my sense of social justice - civil rights, anti-nuclear, anti-war, and a dozen other social issues. It was after all, the sixties.

Even today I hear Pete belting out the chorus of 'The Thresher', a nuclear submarine that vanished on a training dive:
"The Thresher was a nuclear sub
with modern guns and gear
but none of her designers
could make her re-appear"

or the early Dylan classic 'A Hard Rain's a-gonna fall' which warned of nuclear fallout; or the Tom Paxton classic "What did you learn in school today?"; or Malvina Reynolds infamous song of suburbia and conformism "Little Boxes".

So I wrote poetry and marched as a teenager in the moratoriums against the Vietnam War. As a young adult I protested French nuclear testing in the Pacific. In 1976 and 1977 I cycled with Friends of the Earth from Sydney to Canberra as part of the Rides Against Uranium. I helped set up a solar hot water system on the lawns of parliament house in Canberra in May 1977 to demonstrate alternative energy systems. But the politicians weren't listening then....well, perhaps with the possible exception of Tom Uren and Jim Cairns.

Here in Australia we have some dedicated people called Beyond Zero Emissions. Last year they launched a detailed plan on How to achieve Zero Carbon Emissions by 2020 for converting all stationary energy power stations to renewable energy in 10 years. It is possible and achieveable if we are willing to put the nation building effort in. We could build solartopia in Australia with windpower and sunpower. In just 10 years.

There is even research saying that A carbon neutral solar and wind powered world in 20 to 40 years is achievable if the global community cooperates together. Or as Professor Mark Z Jacobson stated in Januyary 2011: "Based on our findings, there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources," said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University. "It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will."

And there you have it. It comes down to political will.

We will probably see many more extreme weather events like the Missouri River Floods threatening two nuclear power plants, torrential rain and floods in China, Victorian bushfires or Queensland floods and spend $trillions in repairs before societies demand the drastic action required to mitigate climate change through building Solartopia and the necessary funding for climate adaption.

Thank you to Pete Seeger, Dar Williams, David Bernz and the Rivertown Kids' Choir for this inspiring performance on October 24, 2009.

The video notes say in part "Pete, David Bernz and Harvey Wasserman composed this anthem for Wasserman's futuristic vision of a green-powered, socially-just Earth free of fossil fuels and atomic energy. Harvey describes his vision in his book, "SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030." Bernz's brilliant chorus takes us from Adam and Eve to Three Mile Island and BP's Gulf spill, invoking a time that must come when humankind will once again be powered by the wind and sun...."

We must always keep close our visions for a better clean renewable energy powered world even as we fight against the corporate and political greed and might of King Coal.

Onwards to Solartopia!

Oh, and pay a visit to Harvey Wasserman's Solartopia.org website for some more inspiring messages and information.