7/1/20 – Reflections of Sunride 3
Sunride through the Great Plains states is now complete. This is the great wind corridor of the country with thousands of turbines in every state, I saw them in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. There’s lots of sunshine here too, enough in Texas alone to power the entire world!*
There’s lots of innovation that comes out of this part of the country. Of the 12 richest people in the world, 6 of them are from around here (Warren Buffet up in Omaha, Charles Koch in Wichita, and four of the Waltons over in Arkansas). I have long predicted the first trillionaire will be someone who fully capitalizes on solar energy. Tesla’s (and SpaceX’s) Elon Musk could be the guy, or it could be someone else, maybe someone from this financial “Avenue of the Giants.”
People are strongly independent in this part of the country. They ride motorcycles without helmets and would bristle if government told them they had to wear a helmet. They want government to be small and government regulations to be few. The main thing that happens here is farming. They grow mostly wheat and corn. Harvesters come for the season, harvesting maturing wheat first in the southern prairie states of Texas and Oklahoma, working their way north to Montana, then heading back the other way to harvest the corn. In days of old, cowboys herded cattle along the Texas/Montana corridor. Commerce flourished along the Old Santa Fe Trail. Dinosaurs once walked here. We saw their footprints in New Mexico.
The land hasn’t changed much. Homes are still far apart. The work is hard and freedom may be valued here more than any place I’ve seen yet.
People are practical here. An attitude of no nonsense prevails. If it works, it’s good; Leave it alone! A strong work ethic permeates the culture. If you take on a debt, you have to pay it back. Don’t look to the government, funded by other people’s hard work, to pay your school loans or any other kind of debt you chose to incur.
There are a lot of American flags displayed on homes and businesses throughout this region. There’s a vibe here that people love America more than people in other places like California or New York. Liberals (a.k.a Democrats) are regarded with contempt, because “true Americans” support our country, our leaders, our military, no matter what, right or wrong.
The gap between blue and red seems insurmountable; but good people, intelligent people, people who love this country, are on both sides holding very different views with equal zeal. What can unite us? I don’t know; but it’s good to talk. It’s good to try, to really, really try to understand the other side. Even if we end up in total disagreement at least we should be able to say, “I understand your position. I understand why you feel that way, and more than anything else, I want to be your friend.” Can red and blue truly be friends? Sunride is trying. Even where there’s controversy over renewable energy versus fossil fuels, “red” and “blue” Americans all seem to like Sunride.
Current total global energy usage per day: 452 billion kilowatt hours
Number of 300-watt solar modules needed in 5 peak sun hour location: 300 billion
Square miles of sunshine needed to power all human activities on earth: 215,220
Square miles in Texas: 268,597