Way back there, I commented on somebody else's blog that one of the best places for new sustainable changes to be encouraged would be islands. Everything is just a little more urgent, a little more obvious there- it should be easier to convince people of the need for substantive change.
So- here's a great island to watch in the next days and years - Zanzibar has been without power for 8 days now. They're learning fast.
Everybody complains that photovoltaic power is "too expensive".
You know, it's really not. At the moment, hotels in Zanzibar are running diesel generators- and it's costing them 20% of total income, daily- just for fuel and water.
Could have paid for a good solar array with that money. All you have to do to get your economics calculations to swing around towards solar is: factor in a real power outage from the grid, sometime or other. A month or so of "business is still working", compared to the same time period of "business totally shut down" - really changes the bottom line. It's been very very hard to get people to listen to that- the idea that "power" could go "out" for more than a few hours has been unthinkable in the developed world for decades now. They thought it was unthinkable in Zanzibar too, 8 days ago.
The tricky part is- the panels will NOT put out as much power as the generator can. So you have to learn to USE less. That's where folks refuse to change.
But you know- if you live on Zanzibar right now- I'll bet it's making a lot more sense to you, that you really don't need some of those frills.
It may be this is how people will learn. Keep using- right up until the day all the power is cut.
Update June 5- the power in Zanzibar is still out. And it going to stay out for a month, apparently. Here's a story from a shopkeeper; and one that explains the power situation. Basically, their power situation is/was unique- the island gets its power from a hydro plant on the mainland- through 38 kilometers of undersea cable. Um. What? It's the cable that's broken- it's 28 years old.
A month? or more. Talk about incentive for change.