Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Environmental campaigning has provided a divided nation. Renters: The have and the have-nots of renewable energy

A new environment-related organisation has been formed, Solar Citizens, relating to solar energy.  However, Miss Eagle is completely underwhelmed.    

Now you might think I would be right behind such an organisation. Ordinarily, I would be - but I believe that all these panels on roof-tops and the way they have got there has built inequity - gross inequity - into the renewable energy game.

Churlish of me, you might think?  I have written to Geoff Evans who leads this campaign this morning in reply to his letter to me.  It is published below.  I would welcome hearing from others who feel that they have been kept on the outer of solar renewables because they rent.


Dear Geoff,

Would love to sign up to your solar citizens campaign - but, boy, have you missed the boat.  I can't get over how much "energy renewables" people have missed the boat. They just don't get it.

You don't seem to understand that, because of your lack of understanding, you have assisted in making this nation one of energy haves and energy have-nots.

We see lots of solar panels on rooves and that is great.  Most of it has been government funded in some way.  

My sister, who is in a very senior position at a rather important Australian university, boasts of the profit she makes on her energy bills - in short, getting her energy for free.  

I am an aged pensioner who rents. Until ten years ago, I had been a home-owner all my life.  I won't go into the roller-coaster of life which now sees me renting.  I have had solar energy in the past - not cells, but solar hot water.  I would like to go solar. 

However, there was nothing in the government program/s which encouraged or co-erced the owners of rental premises to install solar panels.  

I would love to have renewable energy instead of the gas and electricity I chew in very cold Ballarat.  But how do I do this?  My story is repeated across the country.  I am sure there are millions who, like me, are dependent solely on social security yet would love not to pay electricity bills like my sister - particularly those who have just had their Newstart or parenting payments lowered or done away with.  

But no! We have a middle class - who would never join you, Geoff, in an activist campaign (and I am an environmental activist) - who have become the energy haves of Australia.  At the same time as we have encouraged this, we have left the poor, the low-income people to the seemingly eternal depredations of energy companies - especially the dirty energy companies of Victoria.

Some might use the old adage that "a rising tide lifts all boats".  Current energy campaigns by environmentalists other than me and by the self-congratulating government do not acknowledge the paucity of rental accommodation with solar energy.  The huge number of renters lacking renewable energy - and unable to access renewable energy - prove the lie of this proverb.

So, this morning, I will resort to my blog, Facebook, and Twitter to air this latest inadequate campaign.  You will get some coverage for your campaign - but not, perhaps, the sort you would like to have.

Brigid O'Carroll Walsh
Miss Eagle

Please note:  HootSuite was up the creek with its times.
AEST was Tuesday May 14 around 10am
Kerry's post came on Facebook came about 10.10am
An excellent idea. Developing systems that are transferrable.
That would certainly be good news for renters.
GJB's post came at about 11.25am Tuesday 14 May

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