He told me about raising a young family with Madge. Tired of “starving on the farm,” he learned carpentry in the hopes of building a better life. At the same time I was busy being a toddler Delmer was 100 miles away farming…with horses. Now, in our area Amish folks still farm with horses for cultural and religious reasons. But it continually amazes to me to think that some conventional farmers were relying on horses in the early 1950s when I was just a sprout.
Using horses as a source of well, horsepower, is an interesting study in sustainability. Horses are fueled by renewable resources that they actually help produce. Then their waste products circle back into the soil, and the cycle begins anew.
But the fact that horse power was used as a viable, sustainable source of energy in America during my own lifetime is intriguing. This is especially interesting in light of an energy analysis done by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and by U.C. Berkeley researcher Mark Delucchi. They’ve concluded that it’s entirely feasible for the U.S. to make a 100% conversion to renewable energy by the year 2050. Imagine…in one person’s lifetime going from the use of horses to the fossil fuel era and then finally on to100% renewable energy. (OK, in 2050 I’d be 99 yrs. old, but that’s entirely feasible too…right?!)
Their analysis is based on technology currently available and gives a state-by-state blueprint of how to make this change happen. The next Earthbound column will detail how Wisconsin can become part of this energy renaissance. Pretty exciting stuff – more jobs, fewer pollution-related medical issues, cleaner air AND lower cost!
Delmer with his salt of the earth values would be proud of our efforts to strive for a stable, resilient eco-system. His frugal side would appreciate that the wind and sun offer free, limitless energy. It’s a world we can and must strive toward because our only home is right here. We’re forever…Earthbound.