New Book Provides Concrete Examples of How to Regain Control and Reliability. Few Americans feel they understand, let alone have any say over, the intricate forces that determine whether their lights go on. In today’s energy system, we have become utterly dependent on distant power plants, long-haul transmission lines, and unaccountable decision-makers. Toregain reliability and peace of mind, according to a new book published by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), citizens must take charge of their electrons.
Themedia simply report on California’s shortfall of thousands of megawatts and limit the discussion to President Bush’s energy plan and Gov. Gray Davis’ plea for wholesale rate caps. They’re missing the real story. California may need thousands of megawatts of generating capacity in the long run, but the rolling blackouts hit only a few blocks at a time. This summers’ electricity crisis, therefore, isn’t going to be dealt with in Washington or even Sacramento, but at the local and neighborhood level.
The California energy crisis is not simply about a lack of electricity it is about who owns the production and distribution of that electricity. As state after state agrees to deregulation, the utility industry is approaching a concentration not seen since the Power Trust of the 1930s. Seeing the Light urges us to change the rules now and create a future that includes affordable, locally-owned electricity. The book chronicles hopeful new developments and reminds us that the best way to prevent another crisis is to build a better system.… Read More
"From the hills of Seattle to the flatlands of Davis, from the industrial city of Hartford to the universty town of Madison, cities are beginning to redefine their role in our society," begins this important essay. For Morris the new role should should include inducing the widest distribution of productive capacity. New technologies make possible a more self-conscious and organic city. Local self-reliance becomes a strategy that embraces economic, environmental, and political goals. Morris argues that we have had far too much government and far too little governance. Government is bureaucratic. Governance is democratic. Communities can design their future. The new city-state emerge. … Read More