In 1970, the first Earth Day was held to demonstrate broad global support for environmental protection. At the time, the world’s population stood at 3.63 billion. Today, that number has more than doubled.
Well, guess what? Greenhouse gas emissions have doubled since then, too. Simply put, the world is in real danger, locked in on a collision course with disaster.
In celebration of Earth Day – and as a way to encourage the widespread use of non-polluting energy sources – The Climate Group and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have teamed up to create a Facebook campaign designed to accelerate the adoption of solar energy in the United States.
The “I LIKE SOLAR” initiative centers around solar energy’s widespread popular appeal – demonstrated by a recent national Hart poll which shows that 9 out of 10 Americans favor more solar deployment – as well as the power of social media to spread the “buzz” about solar energy. In fact, researchers at the University of Texas, Austin found that interaction with a friend, relative or neighbor with solar can spur someone to “go solar” three times faster.
The primary goals of this innovative, new Earth Day campaign include:
· Substantially increasing the use of residential solar in America
· Significantly reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions
· Harnessing Facebook’s powerful social network to create a virtual solar neighborhood
· Optimizing solar messaging on Facebook and other social media platforms
The most recent GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013 calculates installed solar capacity in the United States at 13 gigawatts (GW). When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, that’s enough clean electricity to displace 14.2 billion pounds of coal or 1.5 billion gallons of gasoline. Put another way, it’s the equivalent of taking 2.7 million passenger cars off U.S. highways.
It’s time to be honest with ourselves. We are facing a watershed moment. Today, climate change is a real and growing threat to America and the rest of the world. It’s indisputable. Sea levels are rising. We’re experiencing more intense and unpredictable storms. And droughts plague the world. Clearly, climate change threatens our economy, our future progress, our health and safety, and even our way of life. Every day, the Earth suffers a little more from human neglect. We can’t wish this problem away, and pointing fingers won’t solve it, either. There’s no better way to celebrate Earth Day – and pay respect to our planet – than to embark on a campaign which can have a positive, demonstrable and measurable impact on our environment.
Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, employing 143,00 Americans and accounting for nearly 30 percent of all new electric generation capacity installed in 2013 – second only to natural gas. In fact, more solar has been brought online in the past 18 months than in the 30 prior years combined. All totaled, solar is now generating enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to effectively power nearly 2.5 million homes.
The I LIKE SOLAR campaign is an exciting, new collaborative effort. Facebook has 180 million users in the United States and reaches 71 percent of all online adults. Creating a robust community of solar owners to share their stories and offer personal testimonials about the value of solar – both from an economic and environmental standpoint – will certainly pay dividends in our fight against pollution and climate change.
Working together, we can make this an Earth Day that will be long remembered.