I never thought that would be a question that I would have. Threatened? OK, the grammar school bully might have been pretty scary and maybe you had a run in with some ruffian who wanted to snatch your cell phone. That’s being a kid and later that’s living in the city but this is different.
I’ve come out of the closet, so to speak. Me and the rest of my organization have stepped out and actively said we are attempting to democratize energy. We know this is important but we had no idea just how important. All we wanted to do was bring economic development to our community and then, maybe just maybe, then to the community at large in this United States. Elsewhere on this planet, like Germany, cooperative non-profits are doing this. They are operating electricity generation. They have cooperatives.
There are somethings that everybody needs and energy is one of those things (food and water are pretty high on the list). We, naive though we may be, thought this is the way it should be and people will recognize this. Actually people do. It’s those other defined as people, corporations that don’t recognize it and want very much to keep it unrecognized.
In response to some of my communications I received a wonderful email in support of what we at Bronzeville Urban Development are attempting to do. With that email came support for comments I had made in my last blog, David vs. Goliath. We (meaning others attempting to democratize energy) are being attacked, prevented, discouraged, etc. by the utility companies.
Theoretically I understood that but I had never given thought to being physically in danger until yesterday.
Our organization has had contact from entities attempting to purchase the land donated to our not for profit on which we plan the solar/microgrid. We’ve had offers from organizations affiliated with the utility to give us a building owned by them in which to put our education projects and studios for a local artist using solar panels as the canvas for his artwork if we would cease and desist with trying to build a microgrid but this evening took the cake.
I attended the Women In Green networking event. This was to be a nice evening of meeting other women who were advancing sustainability in their communities. I got the chance to talk about what BUD is doing to install a Bronzeville Microgrid. The room went quiet. I don’t mean cricket quiet. I mean rapt attention. After a pause there were expressions of what can we do to help? How do we get the word out? Do you realize this is a paradigm shift? Don’t give up. Don’t cave in. I was almost at the point of tears of joy.
Just the morning before this I had received the email referenced above from a woman who had recently retired from an electric cooperative. They too have offered support. I thought, “David is not alone.” If you don’t get the reference, check out my previous post, David vs. Goliath” but tonight I realized just how important it is not to be alone.
After the Women in Green event, there were a few women who stayed behind to get cards or express their support or exchange emails. My friend went to get the car while I waited in the lobby. A thin caucasian woman approached. She looked familiar and it didn’t take long for me to realize she had been involved in an inter-professional project, just as BUD had, at one of the local universities.
She politely explained that she would not be able to submit letters of support or comment at the Illinois Commerce Commission because she had some type of financial or legal association to the local utility. Believe me, I understand. I suggested she have a friend submit the comments for her. What happened next was surreal.
She looked at me and asked if I knew how dangerous was my situation. My first thought was that I was hearing things. I asked if she thought the local utility would attempt to take me out? She didn’t really answer. Ok, maybe I’ve read too many mystery novels like the Pelican Brief”.
I tell you one thing though, too many novels or not, I’m spreading this story as far as the internet will take it. I AM NOT ALONE. There are organizations, people who know and who will continue. If I remember correctly my response to her was something to the effect that I would not stop loading stones in my slingshot. It’s not David vs. Goliath, it’s DAVIDS and more DAVIDS and more DAVIDS and there are a lot of stones.