Smash the System!
You might have noticed these little fellas popping up around the country – self contained keep left signs which rely mainly on their reflective properties rather than a hard wired light. However some like this one have a small solar cell on top which powers an internal light via a battery. This is the perfect way to use renewable energy – collect it, store it, use it all in the same location. This is very efficient and it does away with the need for expensive cabling etc.
Only one problem.
When we collate energy statistics, such off-grid generation of renewable energy doesn’t get counted. The system assumes that renewable energy will be distributed via a centralised grid which was set up with concentrated and locally polluting fossil fuel energy in mind. Think of all those solar powered calculators, road signs, yacht batteries, log burning stoves, solar hot water systems etc, etc which are busily working away producing clean energy but never bothering the statisticians.
That’s one way the system is damaging, the other is it encourages on-grid renewables over off-grid with all the inefficiencies the grid brings to the equation.
The tail is wagging the dog.
I see this again and again in organisations too – where the system rewards business as usual, ignores progress and often penalises sustainable change. Unfortunately there are too many people who believe the system is the system as if a bureaucratic process was an immutable law of physics.
Well, if the system doesn’t work, smash – or at least tweak – the system!