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The Copelands’ home solar project. Photo: Creative Energies
The Copelands’ home solar project. Photo: Creative Energies 

By Holly Copeland, conservation scientist at The Nature Conservancy

300 pounds: That’s how much coal was not burned in a distant power plant in December as a result of the solar panels we installed on our house in Wyoming this fall.

Being December, it was our lowest monthly generation period, with low sun angles and periodic snow covering our panels.

An astonishing 1000 pounds of coal is burned to provide electricity for a typical US household per month.

Research shows that people most often take action on the environment based on a direct experience (Kollmuss and Agyeman 2002). In the case of climate change, ocean water isn’t lapping at our front door, nor did a hurricane recently flood our house.

Nor will we ever face these threats on the wind-swept plains of Wyoming.

But the health of the environment and our love of wildlife and open spaces is something that we care deeply about and also what drew us to settle here many years ago.

Home Solar Amidst an Energy Boom

Living in one of the epicenters fueling America’s energy boom has been a wake-up call. For the past 15 years, we’ve watched the slow unraveling of the sagebrush ecosystem: natural gas and oil extraction causing declines in species like sage-grouse and mule deer that depend on these systems (Naugle et al. 2011, Sawyer et al. 2013).

For the entire story, please visit the Nature Conservancy

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