For those of us prone to nail-biting, it has been a rough few months, what with the impending election and the economic crisis. However, at Mother Lode, we’re feeling pretty optimistic and excited about the future. The River Center, as always, inspires us to stay positive and look for practical solutions, and we know that there is more exciting, important work to do than ever before! Let’s take a minute to enjoy the things that Mother Lode customers and staff achieved this summer.
First and foremost, we had a LOT of fun on the American River this summer—in an eco-friendly way unparalleled by any other company. Hundreds of people rode our waste-veggie oil bus and used ourWVO truck for our whitewater rafting trips on the South Fork, Middle Fork and North Fork of the American River. We used hot water and energy powered by solar panels at camp, and we ate great organic veggies from the garden.
After reading the nationwide bestseller Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, with its premise that children today grow up suffering “nature-deficit disorder,” we at Mother Lode felt even more adamant about our mission of bringing children (and adults) into the outdoors. We just tallied it up and it turns out that 2056 children participated in our Outdoor Education Programs this year!We were thrilled when the No Child Left Inside Act was approved by the House Committee in June. We hope it reflects our nation’s growing awareness of the importance of outdoor education and will result in more opportunities for children to go outside to play and learn.
This summer, we also advocated for making California and the U.S.A. more earth-friendly and sustainable. At the Federal level, Mother Lode customers and staff wrote letters to President Bush, both candidates for President and our U.S. Senators and Representatives about the Federal Solar Energy Tax Credit. This tax credit was intended to provide the financial support and market forces to help foster the emergence and use of solar energy. It had worked in the last two years, creating almost 20,000 high quality new jobs, and if renewed, it was projected to create 20,000 more, and produce up to 3881 Megawatts of energy (one megawatt of electricity can power between 400 and 900 homes in a year).
The legislation to extend this tax incentive for eight years was in limbo for months, with the solar industry holding its breath to see whether it would get the financial support needed to proceed in future solar projects and investments with confidence. But finally, on October 3rd, the most significant federal policy ever enacted for the solar industry was passed along with the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The legislation ensures a 30% federal investment tax credit for both residential and commercial solar installations for 8 years. No matter how we feel about the bailout, this is a silver lining to celebrate in hard times, and Mother Lode customers had a part in supporting it.
We also wrote to the California Senate Education Committee regarding California State Senator Loni Hancock’s Bill 2855, which will make funds available for training high school students and other young people in emerging green technologies such as wind and solar power. This was recently signed into law by the Governor.
So, all in all, a satisfying summer! And as the famous physician and biologist Jonas Salk said, “The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.”