Father’s Day, Lawn Obsession, and the Movement to Electrify Everything

I recently skimmed an article discussing America’s obsession with the what is apparently the most common and most useless crop…the lawn. You know as well as I do that nothing speaks louder to manly homeowner pride that a freshly mowed, weed-free, putting green-like lawn welcoming friends and neighbors alike. Well, today, Father’s Day, I took full advantage of this all American pastime, even taking it up a notch, by purchasing the ultimate Father’s Day ‘doghouse’ gift – a new electric mower.

Sidenote – if you are a stranger to JCPenny’s failed jewelry commercial, “Beware of the Doghouse”, this is your day! Be sure to watch it HERE, after reading this post. It’s an all time family favorite at my house!

It’s not just any mower that I purchased today. It’s what I call my ‘hydro mower’. A few years back, I grew completely disgusted with a smoke-belching, shoulder-wrenching gas mower inherited with the house. “Really,” I thought? “I need to go through these oil, gas, and chemical-based gyrations every time I need to shave my lawn?” And there on Craigslist was the cure to my ills, a used electric Ryobi mower. $50?? SOLD!

Neighbors marveled! Passersby stopped and gawked. One actually questioned my outright. “What is that thing?” I quietly replied that this way my hydromower! (I was able to reply quietly because this mower is quiet!) I told this curious yard owner that if the rain was going to grow my lawn, I was going to cull it back with rain! Rain power, that is!

Well, last week, my hydromower gave up, or, it gave it to a wire-chewing mouse, or a loose connection, or some such issue that I have not been able to track down. Enter Father’s Day, my day, my time to do whatever the heck I want! A new hydromower? Why not?!

Ryobi 40v mower

This baby rages! Sure, my lawn is not big, maybe 1/4 acre or so, but this 40v Ryobi will manicure my lawn in about 20 minutes! And dang do I feel a deep American pride when I stand back and take in the plush green carpet that I’ve left behind.

On top of this, in case some of you have missed the point, this mower uses a battery, charged with Juneau’s wonderous hydro power. I’m well on my way to living the life that physicist, inventor, and engineer Saul Griffith has outlined in his powerful handbook called ‘Rewiring America.’ In ‘Rewiring America’, Saul Griffith, PhD argues that we can still address the threat of climate change, but only if we respond with a massive mobilization effort to transform the fossil fuel economy into a fully electrified one, run on wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources. Based on the vast data about energy flows in the U.S. economy that his company, Otherlab, has mapped, Griffith details how to not only save us from climate disaster, but to help us enjoy a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous future. I can’t recommend skimming through the pages of Saul’s work enough.

Electrify Everything

“Will our lives change? The surprising answer is not a lot. Those things that will change, though, are for the better: cleaner air, cleaner water, better health, cheaper energy, and a more robust grid. We can have pretty much all of the complexity and variety of the American dream, with the same-sized homes and vehicles – and we’ll need less than half the energy we currently use. This is a success story that casts aside trying to “efficiency” or “deprive” our way to zero emissions.”

So, to wrap this up, this Father’s day I urge all you dads, and all you other fine folks who may know a dad or two, to not only enjoy ‘Dualbag’ and the Doghouse video, but to ditch the juice, embrace the hydro, to take a look at Saul Griffith’s ideas, and to join the conversation and the questioning that is increasingly heard about town. The move to electrify everything is coming, if not already here. How will we power this change?

  • What are AELP’s plans for this future?
  • When does perceived future power demand dictate the building of new generating capacity?
  • Will Juneau Hydro ever get access to the power lines to Juneau?
  • How can Kensington mine electrify and curb it’s oil needs?
  • Can we keep up with the rest of the dock-electrifying world?
  • How ’bout that downtown ‘district heating’ sea water heat pump plan?

And yes, because I’m sure you’re asking. That lawn picture is from today, freshly cut with the shiny new Ryobi 40v.