Those readers who have been visiting Irregular Times over the last year know that one of our ongoing projects is Irregular States, a state-by-state guide to progressive politics, along with political merchandise to go along with local issues. There’s a lot of progressive territory to cover in the United States, especially with a near majority of voters highly activated against George W. Bush and his crew of Republican elites.
The upshot is that we’ve got a rough framework for 35 out of the 50 states, and are constantly working on more material for the other 15, which we hope to have up and running by the end of January. So, if you know of any good local progressive organizations, drop us a comment here (see below) letting us know the specifics of the group, and we’ll take a look and consider adding a link to our growing lists.
In the meantime, it’s an important part of progressive activism to work as an individual as well as part of a group. On the issue of the environment, for example, each one of us can work to reduce waste and use more clean sources of energy on our own, even if we’re not members of good organizations like the Sierra Club.
One of the great myths perpetuated by the old-industry-smitten Republican Party is that renewable energy just isn’t affordable for ordinary people. The big oil company friends of the Bushes and Cheneys like to keep this myth alive so that people keep on buying the dirty energy from which they make their profits.
Of course, the truth is often very different. In fact, in many places in the United States, programs exist that make renewable energy quite cost effective for average consumers. Of course, the Republican federal government is not leading the way with such programs, but many state governments are picking up the slack, with progressive energy incentives.
You can search for clean energy incentives in your home state by visiting the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy. You might be surprised what’s available for you if you decide to use more clean energy, and wean yourself away from Bush Oil and Smog, Inc.
For example, residents of New Jersey who install photovoltaic (solar) energy systems can get a rebate that takes off 70 percent of the installation costs. Add that to the savings from getting free energy from the sun, and the economics of solar energy in New Jersey start to look really good.
Many locations in New York State can receive a 15-year property tax exemption for installing renewable energy systems before 2006. In addition, New Yorkers get a substantial tax credit for using solar electric systems and fuel cells.
Don’t believe the Republican hype about the need to keep on burning coal to keep your light bulbs shining. Before dismissing the possibilities for renewable energy on your property, do a quick search at the renewables database, and you may find that you no longer need to wait around for Bush to get kicked out of office before you can start making a real difference to improve the quality of life and the financial bottom line right where you live.