NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, January 22nd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. Next up, WORLD founder Joel Belz marvels at God’s provision through natural resources, and man’s creativity in using them.
JOEL BELZ, COMMENTATOR: “I was wrong.” Some wise soul says those are the three hardest words for a human being to say.
Hard or not, I think it’s time for me to apply the confession to my long standing disdain for those who think we’ll soon be heating our homes and powering our cars with solar energy. Maybe in 100 years, I’ve stubbornly conceded. But no way in my lifetime.
Even in this column, in discussions about climate change and stewardship of resources, I’ve been way too condescending. I scoffed at the dreamers who imagined modern civilization might ever replace proven petroleum riches with something as distant and erratic as the sun.
But I think I was wrong. And it is more and more that distant and erratic sun that has been getting my attention.
Whether we see it or not, it is out there making its warmth available to every nation and culture on earth, every day of every year, for centuries or even millennia on end. You might think of the sun as an equal opportunity space heater. And so very much more. And experts tell us there’s no evidence at all that the sun is burning up! We’re using not even a tiny fraction of its capacity.
So common sense suggests that even some of us skeptics should swallow our pride and do whatever we can to hook up to God’s giant energy generator. The challenge is to get that energy from its source to its ultimate users.
Such a distribution system, if it is to succeed in the free market, needs to be both efficient and timely. So far, it is neither—though we are making progress, and it does show promise.
Just take a look across almost any gathering of new buildings—residential or commercial—and try to see how many solar collectors you can count. Folks aren’t installing such devices these days just for the fun of it, or for their décorative appeal. They actually work. About 40 years ago, I actually installed a primitive 3-foot-by-8-foot solar panel just outside our home’s laundry room. That happy improvement has saved our family budget at least $30 every single month—a total of almost $15,000 dollars. And we haven’t spent a single penny on operational or maintenance costs. Newer models capture the sun’s energy far more efficiently than mine does.
But what about the issue of timeliness? How can 6 billion people around the world ever learn to lean on a solar source that goes totally dark every single night? The humble solution just may be closer than you’ve imagined. Think batteries.
High-powered batteries—even in race cars, if you can believe it—are the coming thing. I used to think this was only the stuff of wild dreams. But I was wrong. Now I’m thankful God still infuses His marvelous creation with a spirit of invention and creativity.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Joel Belz.