“The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun.” - Ralph Nader
It’s been a tense couple of weeks in the chasing answers household. I’m slowly recovering from surgery and am still unable to do most of the things I care to do.
And my wife and I forgot what it’s like to have a six-month-old kitten in the house.
Buttercup is wreaking fucking havoc right now.
He finds every little imperfection on the walls and then claws at them until he eventually breaks through, and we end up with this.
He’s into everything right now. He’s also incredibly good at sneaking into the bathroom without you realizing he’s in there. I can’t wipe my ass without this little shithead sneaking up beside me and ripping the toilet paper out of my hand.
My wife’s been most frustrated with the damage to the walls. I just want to take a shit in peace. My daughter is oblivious to all of this and thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world that she has a best friend with four legs and a tail that snuggles in bed with her.
Obviously, Buttercup isn’t going anywhere, so I will be patching walls and performing bathroom reconnaissance for the foreseeable future.
Despite all of this, I have to admit he’s pretty damn cute.
All Those Parking Lots
I have a friend who has invested in real estate since we were in our early 20s. Over the years, we’ve had multiple discussions about how much ground is consumed by parking lots and what a waste it is.
Many of these only get used during business hours, Monday through Friday. This means 75% of the time, they sit there doing nothing.
What never occurred to me, and I’m ashamed to admit it, is that we should be covering all of these large parking lots with solar panels.
Fortunately, someone at Michigan State University is way smarter than I am. In 2017 they began a project to cover roughly 5,000 parking spaces with solar panels. Not only does this provide the university with a cheap energy source, but it also provides sheltered parking for students and staff. No more getting in a 120-degree car in the summer or scraping snow off the windshield in the winter.
This is genius. How this isn’t catching on all around the country is beyond me. The U.S. is set up perfectly for this. According to this article from 2018, the U.S. has eight of the ten largest parking lots in the world, and some cities have more than ten times as many parking spaces as households, with Jackson, Wyoming, coming in at 27 to 1.
27 to 1??
Damn it, Jackson.
Michigan State’s solar panels provide 5% of all the energy used on campus and will save an estimated $10 million over 25 years.
On top of that, in 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) declared solar the cheapest electricity in history.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get the parking lots of every university, Walmart, Target, airport, and mall (if any of those are left) covered with solar panels.
We have solutions to fight climate change. We just need to convince those who have the power to enact these solutions to do so.
If you really want to geek out on solar, here are a few more articles you may find interesting.
Best of Twitter
This tweet highlights another huge issue facing our planet and the environment. Plastic, plastic, and more plastic. It shows British diver Rich Horner swimming through a literal sea of plastic off the coast of Bali.
This is not an isolated incident. It’s happening all over the planet right now.
If you’d like to take a longer look and hear from Rich himself about the experience, you can check him out on Youtube.
I hope you all have a great week!
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"Buttercup's finest work" lol
Your journey of becoming a cat dad is so endlessly fascinating to me as a Not Cat Person.
Cats seem to be drawn to me, though, and I can't figure out why. Are they scheming to try and win me over??
Why are there so many damn parking lots!?!?!?
I think your Buttercup is an older cousin of my Gilda and Greta. They are almost three months old and just beginning to learn what they can do. It might be the end of our home as we know it. Solidarity, my friend! 💪