Happy Independence Day


It is July 4th.

As I write this post it sounds like my neighbors across the cove to the south and down the mountain to the north are are launching an all-out war on everything and I am caught in the crossfire – and fireworks are supposedly illegal in my state…

About 5 years ago those same neighbors launched fireworks that dropped on my rooftop. I had to climb up on the roof around midnight to be se sure the rocket remains were not smoldering – and it was in the middle of a drought!

I’m all about celebrating Independence Day but I have never understood how blowing things up is anything more than intentional littering/air/noise pollution, a waste of resources, creates a huge fire hazard, and puts unreasonable unneeded stresses on wildlife, pets, and people/veterans with PTSD/sensitivities to sound.

Here are a few ideas for a meaningful, lasting, celebration of independence that can improve our neighborhood relations, our communities, our country, and our connections with each other and with nature:

Plant some trees that will provide oxygen, shade, and sequester carbon. You could make it an annual tradition and call them “Freedom Trees” and over time you would have a “Freedom Forest.” If you and your kids planted fruit trees you could produce some of your own “Freedom Fruit” and before long you would have a “Freedom Orchard” – you get the idea 🙂

Plant a vegetable garden to produce some of your own food. You could call it the “Freedom Garden” or as they did in WW2 a “Victory Garden” – whatever you called it, it would be a great way to grow some of your own food and teach your kids where their food comes from and how to be more self-sufficient and therefore, truly free.

You could add some solar panels to your roof/property to lessen your reliance on dirty energy (fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas) and in doing so you would become more energy secure and self-sufficient by farming the sun and producing your own “Freedom Electrons” to power your personal energy needs.

You could trade in that old gas guzzler for a new or used electric vehicle (EV). Even if you only used it to go to work/town and back as a daily driver for even just a few times per week – it will save you loads of money on fuel, oil, maintenance – oh and you can charge it up with those solar panels I mentioned earlier and have zero fuel costs.


True freedom and self-reliance come when you are not tied to the grocery stores and fuel pumps – which are tied to corporate farms and oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East by several hundred to thousands of miles long supply chains and dirty politics. Operating and protecting these supply chains – especially the petroleum “umbilical cord” without which all gas/diesel vehicles would be useless – costs billions of our hard-earned tax dollars, the lives of our loved ones in the military who work hard and give their lives to protect it, and what about the toxic, health, earth, life and future-destroying pollution that comes with every single step of the process?


For a moment why not just try and forget all your preconceived notions about this idea and imagine never paying for gas/oil/tune-ups and all those random bits that legacy automobiles often need repair or replacement – ever again.

Wow. What a grand concept. What would you do with all that money?


Imagine quietly making your own clean fuel/energy at home and being able to unplug from the subscription to dependency at the gas pump and the local monopolistic power plant and not needing to feed off of the oily teat of the twisted, toxic, corrupt, destructive energy system we have created over the last ~200 years…all while accepting/believing without question that it is the only option…


There is a better way to source our energy and get from point A to point B and it leads to true energy independence – I know how good it feels because I have done it.

My 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV – the “Mighty Bolt”

I have been driving a fully electric car for almost 8 years – my first EV was a 2012 Nissan LEAF – and I charge it with “homegrown” solar-produced electricity so my fuel costs are only around 1 cent per mile! I never stop at gas stations, never worry about tune-ups, exhaust pipes, mufflers, catalytic converters, belts, hoses, fluids, filters, transmissions, etc…driving electric is free from all these things and it is an amazing feeling of freedom and it is a great feeling in every way. If I can do it, so can you.

Here are a few fun freedom facts:

Yesterday my wife and I took a close to 300-mile road trip. We needed to stop for fuel and were happy to discover that the Electrify America fueling stations we chose to use – were all offering free fuel to all patrons in honor of Independence Day!

Charging costs for the entire journey – $0.00!

During our sojourn, we met many other holiday travelers who were stopping for fuel as well.

They were voyaging in many different makes of vehicle but they all shared two things in common: they were all powered by electricity and none of their owners had to pay for fuel for this entire holiday weekend!


We also passed by a Tesla Supercharger station where several Teslas were charging up. I heard through the EV grapevine that some Tesla Supercharger stations were also offering free charging in honor of Independence Day.

So cool.


Thank you Electrify America, Tesla, and the USA for making all this possible.
This is energy freedom and energy security.

On the road in the Bolt EV

High above the solar array my students, volunteers, supporters and I built at my science and nature center classroom.

July 4th is my classroom’s “Energy Independence Day” – it is the anniversary of that wonderful day in 2019 when we energized our classroom solar array and achieved Energy Independence from fossil fuel-produced electricity!

Here is another good idea – what about eating less meat even if only for one day a week.
Aside from the obvious health benefits, eating less meat means less land/water/energy resources will be used up for industrial animal farming – “Factory Farms” – and all the problems they create. If you just cannot fathom that move then maybe you can just raise or ethically hunt and fish for your own meat instead of supporting dirty, unhealthy, industrial animal farms. Like gardening, it teaches the next generation where their energy and food comes from, respect for other life forms, and self-reliance – aka freedom.

Besides all of the obvious benefits I have suggested above – getting outside in nature, be it for farming, gardening, hunting, fishing, planting trees, installing solar, driving your solar-charged EV, or taking a hike in the forest with your kids, family, or dog – is just so good for you and your loved ones and it is a great way to celebrate our country’s and maybe your own independence day 🙂

Learn more about my 501c3 at: http://www.earthshinenature.com

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