Globally, we are experiencing a significant disruption to the economy to which we had become accustomed, due to our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the questions remain as to if and how we should go about resuming our previous businesses and consumer habits, we can view this moment as a great opportunity. At an individual level, many people have expressed appreciation for the opportunity to leave behind some old habits, and embrace some of the aspects of life that have been foisted upon us, but which we find fulfilling. Spending more time with family, working on our homes and in our gardens, and less time spent commuting are all some positive results that some people have experienced in the last several months.
As a country, we have not been taking care of many things, including our transportation infrastructure as well as we could have, and as a result, we find many bridges and highways are old and in poor condition. We need to perform many seismic retrofits as we now better understand the dangers of earthquakes, and have better materials science available to us to build more resilient structures. Many of our public buildings are aging and inefficient, and present great opportunity for us to re-invest in improvements which will result in greater energy efficiency and improved indoor air quality.
We also need to address our carbon emissions, and we are now in the position to greatly improve the cleanliness of our transportation and public infrastructure through electrification and clean renewable energy sources, mostly solar. In our buildings, we will leave behind fossil fuel-based heat sources, and utilize highly efficient and clean electric heat pumps, in addition to improved insulation and windows, and greater understanding of passive solar opportunities to decrease energy needs and improve the quality of the work and living spaces inside.
Regarding transportation, we continue to see Electric Vehicles increase in the personal transportation market, and we are on the verge of seeing larger segments of the transportation market be addressed by EV’s – notably school buses, garbage trucks, and delivery vehicles (Amazon, UPS, and Federal Express). These vehicles are ideal for EV technology since the start-stop nature of their driving maximizes the benefits of regenerative braking, wherein re-routing kinetic energy to battery charging slows the vehicle. The retirement of our country’s diesel school bus fleet would be especially beneficial to our kids as it would decrease their exposure to harmful diesel emissions and particulates.
In summary – this is our opportunity – to invest in clean infrastructure and transportation by using the massive economic power of the federal government, which creates good jobs to assist with our economic recovery, and improves the environment and public health for generations to come by decreasing pollution and carbon emissions.
We urge you to let your representatives know that these are important decisions you want made on your behalf. Please support candidates that understand and agree with these goals.
While our individual influence over the state and federal government policy may be frustratingly limited, the decisions that you do have within your control are regarding your own home and vehicles. You may wish to consider a sensible EV for your personal transportation, and placing solar panels on your sunny roof to create clean local renewable energy.