Thousands of protesters plan to encircle the White House this weekend to speak up against the destructive Keystone pipeline, which would pump hundreds of thousands of barrels of tar sands oil into the US from Canada. Opposition to the Keystone pipeline echoes themes in the Occupy Wall Street movement, which opposes the government's catering to the needs of Corporations at the expense of the public's well-being. The truest form of energy independence -- loosening the grip of massive utility companies and Wall Street backed energy firms -- comes in the form of distributed generation, such as rooftop solar. And Solar Mosaic, an innovative marketplace that brings community donations to local solar installations, is sponsoring Community Solar Day on 20 November, asking communities to identity rooftops they want to occupy with solar panels.
From the southwestern desert perspective, Community Solar Day is representative of a clean energy future that does not involve sacrificing public lands to corporate interests. Not all forms of clean energy actually serve the 99%. Big Solar firms--like BrightSource Energy and First Solar--make their money by bulldozing vast swaths of intact desert habitat. A single project in the northeastern Mojave Desert is destroying 5.6 square miles of ecologically important desert habitat, while dozens of other proposals for Big Solar and Wind in just California would destroy over 1,000 square miles of beautiful mountains and desert valleys. This destruction simply is not green, and it is not necessary to cut greenhouse gas emissions when we have space in our cities, our backyards, and rooftops that can generate the clean energy we need.