Thursday, March 29, 2007

Well, and Unthinkable phase 2

Two quick topics; the story of the lightning struck well, and a slight expansion on the immediately previous post.

The well is fixed - sort of. It turned into a classic "Good news/Bad news" routine. Probably just as easy to tell it that way;

The bad news is: the well is not working
The good news is: it happened during a lightning storm; maybe it's a fuse
bad news; it's not a fuse
good news; at least there aren't any big black melted pieces in the circuits; maybe the lightning burned a wire-
bad news is- can't find any problems above ground. Have to pull the pump. This means calling the well truck.
good news is; they can get here today, before lunch
bad news is; "gee, I've never HEARD of a DC well pump before..."
good news is; he's a good careful journeyman
bad news: having pulled the pump up 130 feet - there's nothing obviously wrong anywhere
good news; unhook the present pump- hook up the backup pump (old) - it works!!
bad news: get it permanently hooked up, ready to drop - it doesn't work.
good news; pull it off, totally open up the wires (20 minutes) - there's a broken wire, just touching- rewire it; it works!
bad news; drop it down the well, turn it on............. NO WATER
good news...... it just took forever to get going, flow normal.
bad news; there's no hugely obvious sign the insurance company will believe it was lightning-
good news- they believe us, after checking their weather map, and it showed a heavy storm-
bad news- it won't cover total costs, and there's a deductible-
good news - well, we got water, and some of it's covered.

But, the pump that's now working is old, and uncertain. Going to have to pull it again before long...

Hope that wasn't too irritating; but it does give you an idea of what I was living through, as the pump man and I worked through it. I really had to be there, to reassure him he was on the right track- off the grid stuff is non-standard for most workers, and kind of freaks them out.

Ok, topic two - in the previous post, I just tossed out this fabulous idea; "Let's outlaw airconditioning"

Actually, that kind of great idea, by itself, is not very helpful. When you THINK about it- of course there are people who NEED it - like hospitals, for example.

So very quickly; if this idea -ANY idea - is to be of use, it has to be moved into the real world.

That's not necessarily impossible. First thing to do is recognize that - any changes are going to involve people being unhappy about it. We're going to have to get used to that. Then the problem becomes, how do you do this fairly? Because "fair" is important. Unfair laws make people seriously unhappy, for a long time- and, they don't abide by them. They become unenforceable; and a source of societal friction and wastes of money that we can ill afford.

So, to start that process- and it would be a process - how about if we

a) TAX airconditoners - with variations on the tax depending on power consumption. In fact, many people who truly need a cool room (old folks, etc) might easily make do with just that - ONE ROOM that is airconditioned. Cooling a whole big house - ought to be more expensive. The tax money collected might go toward - renewable energy, or airconditioned shelters for the homeless, for heat wave protection.

b) LICENSE airconditioners. Make it so purchase is not a given- you'll have to show some actual need, before you can buy one at all.

There- for a start. My guess is, we would cut the power used by airconditioners quite a lot-

And yes, every watt counts.

I think it's terribly important to make suggestions that have SOME chance of working in the real world. And to have thought ahead enough to see what the objections will be; and what the answers might be. Kind of a waste of breath, otherwise.

The point I'm really trying to make is; I'm not saying we SHOULD outlaw/regulate airconditioners. I'm saying - suggestions have to work in the real world- and in the long term.

2 comments:

Lori V. said...

I'm very socially liberal, but even I have a small problem with a law telling me that even though I have 100% renewable energy, we only get to a/c one room for our family of five and then we a/c an entire homeless shelter. If we can't pay to a/c our own homes, why a/c the "homes" of the homeless?

Proving "need" is useless, as I've seen what "proving need" entails (my mother, who has had a disabling autoimmune liver disease for 15 years & is in liver failure, cannot "show need" to be on Medicaid, so my father still has to work at The Evil That is Wal-Mart just to keep insurance.) to the Powers That Be.


Mind you, I'm not saying helping the homeless is out of the question. I just don't think a forced law on a/c is the best answer.h

Greenpa said...

Lori- you're right, any attempt to regulate what has always been purely a matter of private choice will be difficult and contentious.

Also like you, I'm familiar with plenty of situations where "proving need" has backfired in a number of ways.

But- I think (personal opinion) that it will become a matter of dire necessity. It actually already IS; but we're still in denial.

Necessity. We're going to have to get used to that word. An example- in China, for many decades, it was illegal to heat your house in winter if you lived south of a particular line. Very simply because, the national government recognized that the country, as a whole, could flat not afford it. So they passed a law. In general, it was adhered to, leading to many folks just at the north edge of the southern region living all winter, inside, wearing down winter jackets.

There's an example here today of wildly destructive denial:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/04/us/04drought.html?ex=1333425600&en=deb666345155f8b7&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Western cities, like Las Vegas, are looking to take water from elsewhere; to maintain their staggeringly wasteful lifestyles. They're running in to resistance. It will make far more sense to stop watering lawns- etc - by law.

I'm very much afraid it will come- but only after we've really proved to ourselves that other options don't work.

It's like driver's licenses. You didn't have to have a license to drive a horse. When automobiles got so common that it became a matter of life and death to be sure the drivers had SOME idea what they were doing, the entire automobile world screamed bloody murder. But here we are- and in fact, it doesn't hurt that much.