Josh Fox’s Solar Home Companion Tour in Watkins Glen

“We are all members of a great human orchestra,” says Sandra Steingraber “and it is now time to play the Save the World Symphony “

From “A Solar Home Companion” Watkins Glen.

In the tradition of Pete Seeger and his Hudson River Sloop Clearwater who “cleaned up the river’” by holding free concerts and getting people involved in the ecology of the Hudson, Film Maker Josh Fox’s “Solar Home Companion Tour” stopped at The Glen Theatre in Watkins renewable-energyGlen on Monday, March 2. The free event was billed as “Groundbreaking Theatre, Film and Concert That Give Communities The Tools And Resources To Build Their Own Renewable Energy!” It was entertaining, educational, and successful.

Fox had a co-host, biologist-civil disobedience/fracking activist—author—cancer survivor—mother Sandra Steingraber.  Sandra helped set the focus of the night by examining the her early career as a biologist working on controlling  the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s. She compared that battle with the fracking battle— little was known about the both culprits at beginning of the campaigns and more is known now, but neither have been eradicated.

Fox presented a 5-minute clip from the film he is now working on, which is about Climate Change. He noted that he is in the beginning of filming, and gave no estimation when the film will be completed. He pointed out that those involved in the fracking wing of the battle for clean environment can now take a deep breath and look to the future.

The next logical step, Fox explained, is to develop an energy replacement for the fossil fuels that will remain in the undisturbed  shale. He went into a description of different types of renewable energy producers—Solar, Wind and Geo-thermal and introduced real, do-able ways to incorporate renewables to into our life styles. He called it:

Renewable Energy 101

The #1 most important, amazing, this changes everything fact:

We can run our country on


And we can do it today, with current technology. Scientists have given us a roadmap that shows how it’s possible to power our whole country on wind, water and sun, but now we need some PEOPLE POWER to make it happen.

We were presented with three level of participation–EASY (Switch Power Providers), EASY+ (Install Rooftop Solar) and HARDCORE–LET’S CHANGE THE WORLD (Attend or Host A Potluck). For more details in these three levels, including names of renewable-friendly Power Providers, go to the Solutions Grassroots website.

Several local organizations committed to the development of clean, renewable energy in the future paired up with Solar Home Companion to  provide the audience with a local vision of what is possible going forward. They included Gas Free Seneca, We Are Seneca Lake, The Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition,  Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association,   Rate Payers and Intervening Residents  Against Repowering Cayuga Power Plant, Solar Schuyler, and  Renovus.

The program’s final step was to find volunteers for a renewable energy support group–providing information, tools, and trainings to move from fossil fuels to renewables.  It was not difficult to find six volunteers.

Josh Fox, with his banjo, and Folk Singer Dustin Hamman, (of Run On Sentence) with his guitar entertained us separately, and together, with music and stories between acts.

This might be the perfect time to consider Renewable Energy. The technology is  becoming more efficient.  New York State is providing financial incentives for home and business owners, the renewable energy industry and local governments.  Although many politicians deny climate change and heaven-forbid connecting it with burning carbon, evidence is becoming overwhelming to those not benefiting financially from the Oil/Gas Industry that change has to happen. (Science Friday’s February 20, 2015 program had two segments  on how climate change is affecting Kivalina, Alaska, a small town north of the Article Circle.)

Also, wouldn’t it  be nice knowing that you are not financing the Koch Brothers political maneuverings?

About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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12 Responses to Josh Fox’s Solar Home Companion Tour in Watkins Glen

  1. BOB McGILL says:

    •A solar panel requires 20,000 acres to produce 1,000 MW of power.
    •A gas-fired power plant requires 10-15 acres.


  2. BOB McGILL says:

    hey Sandra,
    In comparison with these widespread and perennial sources of methane contamination, the amount of gas released by faulty oil and gas wells is infinitesimal. It would be helpful if some future researcher provided more precise data, but the ratio of man-made to natural release of gases is certainly miniscule.

    Even if the oil industry achieved a 100% safety record with the construction of casings and cementing of wells, or even if no drilling at all were to take place, vast amounts of methane and other “polluting” gases would seep into groundwater and aquifers as a result of natural processes. The same is true of deepwater drilling: enormous methane emissions take place all the time in the seabed. Earthquakes and volcanoes, both above ground and underwater, release huge quantities of gases into the environment on a regular basis. A study of a single quake that occurred in Pakistan in 1945 proved that the event had released 10 million cubic yards of gas over a period of seven decades, and that the fracture resulting from the quake continues to emit methane.

    What humans add to natural emisions as a result of drilling is so minor as to be of little consequence.


  3. pystew says:

    Bob, did you learn from Rep. Reed how to pick an obscure bit of information from the Internet, not cite the source NOR the year it was written, and present it as a fact? (Or did he learn that from you?) Your first “fact” was easy to check–it was from a “Yahoo Answer” page from 2007! (8 years ago!) and the answer was given by someone who used the tag “U235_PORTS”.

    I found a 2014 article that said it needs 6000 acres to produce 1000 MW (Mega Watts) per hour of power. (Energy Biz, Bryan Leyland (author)

    That is still a lot of land, BUT 1000 MW was used because that is what a NUCLEAR POWER PLANT produces per hour. I would certainly rather dedicate 6000 acres to a Concentrated Solar Power facility than a Nuclear Power Plant (or Ten Coal Powered Plants which would produce the same energy).

    The roof top panels and Solar Farms movement is in response to burning fossil fuels which is killing the earth. Solar energy is becoming more efficient every year and NYS (Your and mine tax dollars) are investing in our future. I hope you listen to the Science Friday segments that I have linked in the article. The Arctic is suffering.


  4. pystew says:

    Is this your opinion? If you copied and pasted it please cite your source.


  5. whungerford says:

    It’s cribbed from The American Thinker which does little thinking but disseminates much propaganda.


  6. BOB McGILL says:

    why cite the source when you discredit every one of them, no matter who they are. Artic ice is growing as fast as ever. ” The news of the NOAA computer model prediction follows the release in December 2013 of data from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat spacecraft showing that Arctic sea ice volumes in Autumn 2013 were 50 per cent more than in the previous year, partly due to an increase in multiyear ice. The growth in Arctic sea ice thickness last winter will be contributing to the above average sea ice levels expected in the Summer.”

    In October, a paper from scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute of the University of Bremen was published in the open access journal Climate Of The Past that used Oxygen isotope analysis of an ice core from the Russian High Arctic to suggest that there has been significant natural variability in the Arctic over the last 1,000 years.


  7. BOB McGILL says:

    solar panels don’t work very well under 2 feet of snow. I have a solar battery charger on my tractor and I have to brush the snow off 5 or 6 times a day. The guy down the road can’t even get to his and they have been useless for 4 months 🙂


  8. BOB McGILL says:

    the Am. thinker provides links to Duke and NAS, discredit the original report. 😛


  9. pystew says:

    Why should you cite your source? People who read your information might want to read the whole article to get more information. A purpose of posting articles would be to get more information out about the issue, in this case Renewable Energy.

    As Ronald Reagan would say, “There you go again.” I googled a line from your post, and found an article that it probably came from–the BBC’s Science & Environment “Esa’s Cryosat sees Arctic sea-ice volume bounce back.” Again you, like Rep. Reed, cherry-picked an obscure fact that sounds like it supports your side of the debate.

    Now read the rest of the article, it says:

    But scientists caution against reading too much into one year’s “recovery”.
    “Although the recovery of Arctic sea ice is certainly welcome news, it has to be considered against the backdrop of changes that have occurred over the last few decades,” said Prof Andy Shepherd of University College London, UK.
    Don Perovich: On this year’s report card, Arctic sea ice “gets a D”
    “It’s estimated that there were around 20,000 cu km of Arctic sea ice each October in the early 1980s, and so today’s minimum still ranks among the lowest of the past 30 years,” he told BBC News.

    The Science Friday episodes visited a village north of the arctic circle who spend the winter hunting on the ice which has been decreasing for a while (I don’t remember how many years). They have gone to the US Government (Supreme Court) for help them relocate their village. They also noted that the growing season for flowers and grasses have started earlier because of the warming—but the caribou’s migration, which isn’t based on temperature but sunlight, hasn’t changed. They are getting to the prime grazing areas late and that is hindering their diet. Go to the link. I found it to be really interesting.


  10. pystew says:

    I don’t have the time to find how Am. thinker cherry-picked Duke’s and NAS’ reports.


  11. pystew says:

    Well, I won’t use your solar battery charger to power my house.


  12. whungerford says:

    The trickery used by “American Thinker”–overgeneralize and misinterpret the conclusions of a selected scholarly article–is the same used by “Business Roundtable” to promote TPP. Both are akin to attempts to deny global warming by pointing out a record cold day somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

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