The person who binds herself to Joy

Doth the winged life destroy:

But the person who kisses the Joy as it flies

Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.


William Blake


This post was largely written soaking up the morning sunshine. It’s evening now, and not so different than a few nights ago when Francis and I experienced this full moon.

Moonlight on the Lake 15 - Bruce Witzel photo


While camping out or spending a night in the countryside, have you ever noticed how well you can see by the light of that silvery moon? It’s really just a celestial solar powered light bulb.  An effective solar reflector indeed.

Moonlight at the Lake - Bruce Witzel photo


Although moonlight is best unadulterated, we added some extra illumination for effect. . . 

Moonlight on the Lake! - Bruce Witzel photo


Listen to cosmologist Brian Swimme:

One of the gifts of science is in understanding that life exists by drawing in the sun; one of the gifts of science is to realize that what is surging through us in every moment of our life, with every breath we take, is the sun. So in a real sense the human is the human form of a solar flare. It is surging into the life of the Earth, and in all beings, in the fish, in the mammals, and in the human we have another form of the energy that first was captured by the early photosynthetic organisms. We are the sun in a new form.


Wow – I guess that’s why people called me sunny when I was a kid. . .

Mom and Bruce - 1960 photo by my Aunt Edith Fisher 

Fifty three years onwards, modern civilization now begins our long awaited embrace of the sun.

Solar power is one of the fastest growing energy sectors on the planet, growing exponentially as it becomes more economical. Compare this to fossil fuels with its dwindling supply and rising expense. Completing the equation is the incredible un-accounted costs of climate change. . .

Meanwhile, the average US taxpayer pays almost 100 times as much in subsidies for fossil fuels than for solar energy. 

Lets not be fooled.  Our whole lives and economy are based upon reliable sources of energy. Up until recently that’s been oil, but now the sun is setting – once and for all on hydro carbons.

Montreal industry along the St. Laurence River - Bruce Witzel photo


Picture this editorial cartoon, which I can’t reproduce due to copyright issues.

An executive sits behind a desk with a Big Oil nameplate, and the man says:

You want Coal? We own the mines.
You want oil and gas? We own the wells.
You want nuclear energy? We own the uranium.
You want solar power? We own the er..ah..
Solar power isn’t feasible.


Ya right. . .  Am I imagining things? 

Like this chicken – or maybe it’s an egg. Fran cooked one in the Sun Oven the other day.


Solar cooked Chicken - Francis Gunette



Cabin's solar array and solar hot water system

What about our solar electric array?

Do the windows  help passively solar heat our home? Well today they didn’t because it was hot outside so we opened the windows and created a cooling cross ventilation.


Solway Water heater , circa 1985 - Bruce Witzel photo

Look at this black tank behind glass. We have been using this solar batch heater since 1986. It was 2 years old then. That’s 30 years of hot water. Solar energy isn’t feasible, eh?


Here’s some facts from Wikipedia :

The total solar energy absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and land masses is approximately 3,850,000 exajoules per year. In 2002, this was more energy in one hour than the world used in one year. . . The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet is so vast that in one year it is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth’s non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined.


Considering this, Stanford University professor Mark Jacobsen came up with a scenario for California to be completely independent of fossil fuels or nuclear energy by the year 2050. . .

 University of Stanford - Professor Mark Jacobson


Amazing. eh?

Lets do it.


Moonlight on the Lake - Bruce Witzel photo (2)


In this world of so much strife, danger and cynicism, let’s remember not to be blind or ignorant. The world is also filled with goodness, creativity, and love.

As you can see, even from this moonlit reflection –  The Solar Age is Dawning.


Arundhati Roy puts it this way. . .

Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.


Photo by daniel hui of Himin solar

Photo by Daniel Hui

Peace to all ~









  1. The sun is simply magnificent, providing all this energy for us. So grateful for sunlight! What a lovely blog entry, so enjoyed, thank you 🙂

  2. Thank-you for another beautiful post, Bruce.

    Two Ancient Egyptian Poems to the Sun (the God, Ra)


    The birds flutter above the marshes,
    Their wings uplifted in adoration,
    And all the sheep are dancing,
    All winged things are flying,
    They live when you have shone on them.


    The boats sail upstream and downstream alike,
    Every highway is open because you dawn.
    The fish in the river leap up in front of you,
    Your rays are in the middle of the great green sea.

  3. Solar power! I have a small livable building in BC with a solar panel, a 12 volt battery and a 12 volt electric system. I, however, refer to it as a survival cell and will be writing speculative fiction towards our near future suggesting its use towards that. Idealist, turned climate change realist.

    • I hear you Michael… you might have to call it non-fiction. 😦

      In regards to your 12 volt battery and 12 volt solar panel, that where I began back in 82′ – oh, and a old car radio and one very inefficient 12 volt light bulb. Bit by bit, the system grew. Now we run our hole place with solar and micro hydro, with only a small back-up use of propane and gasoline.

      Yes to solar power, as a primary source to help mitigate climate change.

  4. Oh, yeah! The Burning Age is Over! It’s the dawn of the Golden Age of Solar Energy. What gorgeous shots of the super moon (as “solar reflector”). And I’m inspired by your solar oven. I want to do that with the kids in my Garden Daycamp in a couple of weeks! Did you make it or buy it?

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Bruce. There really is a tiny glimmer of hope in the latest IPCC scenario RCP2.6, described here, as part of our Climate EMERGENCY Countdown: http://blog.greenhearted.org/2014/06/heres-our-climate-emergency-countdown.html


    • Hi Julie – it was great to touch base with you during Elizabeth May’s inspiring speech during the live video stream of the Green Party Convention. I was especially touched by her tribute to Farley Mowat.

      Your own blog is so comprehensive and diverse, and I will use it as an occasional resource base for my own blog, and to keep updated on the world’s ecological situation. I already added the CO2 widget to my sidebar. It really raises awareness to readers about how quickly atmospheric C02 is rising.

      In regards to the solar ovens – this particular model is a manufactured unit called the SunOven. I have also built a similiar model from plywood and at least a dozen others solar cookers over the years. Here’s a link on a few ideas for home built models – http://solarcooking.org/plans/ I have found that kids and adults are amazed when they see a solar cooker in action. Good luck with that.

      Oh by the way – a current event this past weekend was the international solar cooking conference held in Sacramento. A good friend of mine, Jack Anderson of Kyoto Twist Solar Cooking Society, gave a presentation about Solar Ovens used as Carbon Credits and voluntary carbon offsets.

      Anyways – enough for now. Keep up the good work, and it’s good to meet you.

      Best regards – Bruce

      • Thank you, Bruce! I’m excited to check out the solar cooking resources. And yes, Elizabeth’s tribute to Farley Mowat was indeed touching. Her “live” speech was such a neat way to meet other like-hearted people (like you)!
        p.s. I also do consulting in transformative education for sustainability … in case that’s ever of interest to you or others you know (www.greenhearted.org).

    • Thank you – I have heard too many times that solar power doesn’t work, or you can’t rely on it. People need to know you can store sunlight like in a bank account, and draw it out as required. Indeed that’s what fossil fuels are – stored solar energy. It’s just we need to stop burning them and use more sustainable methods.

  5. Great thoughts and images as always Bruce. The ancients revered the sun as a giver of light and life. That’s an amazing factoid about the solar energy absorbed (or lost) by the Earth. We’d rather frack the hell out of the land than find economical ways of capturing that free energy.

    • Funny you say that Rosaliene. The first solar panel I purchased way back in 1982 was an ARCO. They didn’t build it very well and I had to take it out of service within 10 years. I always thought it odd that an oil company would be in the solar business as well. Makes me wonder…

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