Saturday, July 20, 2024

The Republicans are running with us versus the elites politics. Now it's time for the Democrats to offer messages for a sustainable world.

Rather than trying to beat Republicans at marketing to the working class, I think Democrats need to appeal to the need for a sustainable society, versus climate change, authoritarianism and chaos.

They need to appeal to both the rich, powerful allies as well as the poor and working class.

Many of the wealthy are culturally liberal due to the correlation between education and wealth. Even many of the rich realize that taxes aren't all bad and personal wealth is of no use if society and the world around us is crumbing.

Friday, July 19, 2024

Blaming corporations for our problems, rather than looking to ourselves for solutions, shifts from left to right.

While I advocate lifestyles that are alternative to the mainstream, I haven't been that much of a critic of institutions of government or business. I haven't even been that critical of large corporations. Instead, I think it's up to us to live our lives as best we can toward a better and more sustainable world.

Now I note, from the writings of some pundits, that working class rebellion against institutions has shifted toward Trumpism. Blame and finger pointing has been shifting rightward in recent years. It's still not my idea that we, as voters, consumers and participants in the community, are the key to reducing climate change and solving many of society's problems.

In the past, the right wing tended to blame problems on government while the left wing blamed the super rich and corporations. Now it looks like what's called the "working class" is turning toward blaming it all on so called "elites."

Still, however, much of the opinion is manipulated, as always, by celebrities and billionaires.

From Taylor Swift to Donald Trump, himself, the people follow, yet most of the people continue living lives that lead to climate change, lust for money, unaffordable housing, nimbyism and so forth.

Thursday, July 04, 2024

There should be a higher interest rate for speculation and a lower one for creating something.

The Federal Reserve walks a tightrope between raising interest rates which could lead to recession and lowering interest rates which could lead to inflation. Trying to figure out the best "one size fits all" rate is problematic.

I've often thought they should be able to set different interest rates for different uses of the money. Rates should be high for speculation on existing assets and low for creating new assets. For instance speculation that bids up the price of existing housing should be discouraged while construction of new housing should be encouraged.

Housing has been one of the big drivers of inflation in recent years. Raising interest rates tries to cool speculation and inflation, but it also can reduce construction of new housing which would increase supply.

There is a similar situation in business as money can be used just to bid up stock prices and have companies buy one another (existing assets) or money can be used to build new assets.

Government can be a good use for low interest rates when it uses money for improving infrastructure.

Rather than having a one size fits all solution for interest rates, I think there should be a way to have different interest rates for different uses of the money.

I also think the Federal government, thus Biden these days, gets blamed for things like housing inflation, but much of the cause of short supply is caused by local zoning ordinances. The Feds don't usually weigh in on zoning decisions done at the local level.

State governments, such as here in Washington State, are now starting to try and weigh in on local zoning to increase housing supply. Recent state legislation is starting to discourage cities, within the state, from having too much restrictive single family zoning.

Biden future plans may depend on the polls.

Biden plans to stay in the race, but I got to thinking that how well he does in the polling data, during the next few weeks, should effect his final decision. I don't know if it will, or not, but the polls are one factor related to electability.

When the IRS says you paid too much.

I recently got a computer generated letter that I had filled out my income tax form incorrectly. My requested refund, from withholding, was way too small. Turns out I didn't owe any taxes so I got the entire withholding back.

Yes, figuring out taxes can be complicated. This discrepancy had to do with how much tax I owe on my Social Security income. I guess I owe no tax on that due to my overall income bracket. It can be convoluted how things are explained.

The withholding was from my pension income, but I got it all back. I don't mind paying some taxes, but apparently, I didn't owe income tax this year.

Conservatives often say that the rich pay most of the income taxes that run the government while liberals say that the rich don't pay enough taxes.

When one looks at the figures, both sides are likely telling different sides of the truth. I would guess that the rich have most of the money so they pay most of the taxes. Low income people often pay no income tax. The middle class pays quite a bit in taxes also.

One's circumstances really effect taxes. If someone has lots of business expenses, they often get to write off those expenses, making it look like the rich get off tax free. On the other hand, if their businesses were taxed to death; consumers would loose the goods, services and jobs that those businesses provide.

As for the fairness of the overall economy, it doesn't tend to be fair for many reasons. I keep hearing that folks who own assets are wealthy compared to those who just work. In other words things like real estate can go way up in value compared to wages.

I try and always look at the big picture, but sometimes I don't pay that much attention to what seems like the triviality of my own personal finances.

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

On immigration, the welcome mat gets tarnished when overwhelmed.

One can say that large numbers of voters in Europe and USA are sending a message that immigrants are no longer welcome; as in "there's no room at the inn, not even the manger out back." That's my bleak assessment of human nature; folks turn to savagery by circumstance.

It's not the fault of the immigrants themselves who are mostly bringing needed skills and vitality to our economy. It's partially a function of overwhelming numbers of people; an echo of world population growth that has occurred since my childhood. In 1960, there were 3 billion people on the planet, today the estimate is past 8 billion.

Population growth is slowing down, but immigration is an echo effect of population growth that has already occurred; not to mention rise in authoritarianism around the world plus climate change.

Some folks say they are just against illegal immigration, but the waiting lists to immigrate legally are very long due to more folks wishing to immigrate than the quotas set for legal immigration. Congress can adjust those quotas, but talk of adjusting the quotas is seldom heard in political debates about immigration.

I think many people fear that more legal immigration would just bring more illegal immigration as well; like the mental image of bailing out the ocean with a teacup.

Unfortunately, lots of people demonize the immigrants, themselves, who for the most part are innocent and can be a great asset to this country. They bring skills and vitality, not to mention young workers paying into our Social Security system, when they are legally approved.

People do worry about crime, but I hear that there is a higher percentage of crime caused by native born Americans than recent immigrants. However, one worry that does seem legitimate to me, is the ability of border patrol agents to vet recent arrivals when the numbers overwhelm the system. Yes, it does take time to do background checks. Large caseloads, versus a small number of border patrol staff, can be an issue.

From what I hear, in the news, illegal immigration has slowed down significantly since Biden's recent executive order dealing with that issue.

As for infrastructure and population growth, planning is key. Many cities, in this country, are way behind in the number of housing units needed. Whether there is room, in our cities, to park all the cars, if huge numbers of people continue to insist on using private cars, is a factor as well.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Contradictory demands stand in the way of transitioning to a greener economy.

Transitioning to green technology, while maintaining the American people's consumptive lifestyles, is likely to be very difficult. I listen to both liberal and conservative experts and I especially hear from conservatives about logistical problems with things like mandating electric 18 wheeler trucks. Things like weight of batteries + vehicle, given road weight restrictions, for instance. Another topic is sources for the minerals in batteries, given restrictions on domestic mining. There's lots of nimbyism and contradictory environmental concerns that need to be sorted through.

Some conservatives make good points about economic logistics; when they aren't just yacking about the culture wars.

I still think the economic transition is possible, but it will take a lot more patience than most people have in this era of blame and finger pointing. I think we can make these transitions, but the current culture of blame and greed puts obstacles in the way.

In an ideal world, technology would keep advancing and evolve into greener practices, but it will be difficult to bring a lot of changes without people, themselves, accepting change. We will need changes; such as using more public transit and less private cars, on the one hand, while on the other hand, accepting more things like wind turbines, solar panels, mines and even nuclear power.

Transportation is just one example, but people will need to be open to big changes across the entire economy.

Some of these changes can be seen as improvements, rather than sacrifices; such as enhanced safety of public transit versus private cars and the health benefits of things like bicycling. Benefits; such as the quieter world of electric motors versus internal combustion engines comes to mind as well.

Advancing technology can help us. I don't think we can go back to the past; especially with our much larger population than before.

I wonder if we can make the transition and changes we need, given the political climate and the fact that so many people feel like they aren't getting a fair deal. People seem to always want more wealth.

Our entire culture will need some deep changes not just at the top, but at the grass roots level as well.

I wrote this after hearing an interview on June 26 Pullman Radio News with Idaho Congressperson Russ Fulture. After his dismal post mortem of Biden's performance at the debate (to be expected from a Republican) he talked about electric truck mandates. Yes, if we use current battery technology, it adds extra weight, on road surfaces, to an already heavy vehicle for tractor trailers. There are lots of rules about weight of trucks on highways. That could mean less weight devoted to the load which reduces "economy of scale" in transport. More cost, or a need for less consumption.

I personally think mandates are a bad idea leading to lots of pushback. For instance about the vaccine, it's a good vaccine, but the mandates may have backfired in terms of the overall goal of getting people vaccinated.

An example of change in culture could mean going to more rail, for transport of goods, versus highway trucks, but rail lines need to be built and changes in the way business is done needs to happen. This could also mean some inconvenience with less door to door delivery, but we could go back to having more patience as consumers.

Barge on Lake Washington Ship Canal. Image taken during my June 2024 trip to Seattle.

He also panned the proposals to remove dams on the Snake River and the loss of both hydropower and barge traffic. Yes, that fits the narrative of contradiction. Barges that ship wheat out of that Northern Idaho / Eastern Washington region could be another way to reduce reliance on trucks, but there are proposals to remove the dams. Lewiston now calls itself "the seaport of Idaho" due to barge traffic on the Snake / Columbia River system.

Yes, lots of contradictions in demands for having an economy while protecting the environment. Logistics that will need to be dealt with.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Link to my most recent bike tour photos on Flickr.

Pictures from my recent (June 21 to 23) trip to Seattle are now at the top of my most recent trips album on Flickr.

Friday, June 28, 2024

My take after the June 27 presidential debate between Biden and Trump.

If Biden remains the nominee, I would still vote for him based on the issues and the team behind the president. Optics, of a debate on television, is not everything. Still, I admit optics could loose an election.

I also think that we place too much emphasis on the president. The future of this country depends on how the American people treat one another at the grassroots level. How people respond, at all levels, to the challenges and opportunities going forward. Much also depends on who gets elected to Congress and at the state levels. If Trump were to become president, Congress can prevent him from becoming a dictator depending on who's in Congress.

I am already sort of writing a post mortem for the 2024 election, but the election is still months away and lots of things can happen between now and then.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Is gender really that important in every discussion group?

At the start of small group discussions it seems like a lot of time is wasted asking everyone for their name and preferred pronouns. There are other things about each person that's more interesting to me; like someone's quick response to a question about the topic being discussed.

I usually don't remember just names and pronouns where as other topics are more unique and memorable and likely better at starting a discussion.

Pronouns and even names may only matter if one is talking about another person in third person such as "he, she, they, who, was just at the microphone, made a good point." In that case one could maybe always say "they, or that person, sitting over there, made a good point."

Seems like when time is limited, getting to the meat of the topic is more interesting.

In quite a few cases, I've met people once in a group discussion and then never seen the person again. I'll remember the topics, but not the name. If I don't see the person again, it may not matter what name or pronouns they go by.

In some cases, I'll admit, I've known someone for over a year and can pick up a meaningful conversation, where we left off last meeting, but never learned their name. Their ideas and experiences were more unique and meaningful to me.

Much of the rest of it is just "check the category or box" and move on. In many cases people don't fit in a box anyway.

In some cases, people don't feel safe being expected to reveal their gender preference; especially depending on the topic and the nature of the group that is having the a discussion.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Scientific discussion can include speculation. Religious ideas can be part of the discussion as speculation.

I believe some ideas, thought of as religious or supernatural, can have validity as speculation. In science, there are many lines of thought that are speculation; for instance String Theory in cosmology. Scientists often speculate about big ideas beyond what's considered more proven fact.

String Theory, Quantum Gravity and other ideas, on the frontiers of physics and cosmology, are fodder for educated discussion. There may be a time in the future when more clear evidence becomes available bringing some these ideas into the realm of more fact, or on the other hand, these ideas might be discarded. In the past ideas that societies had about the earth being flat have been discarded, for the most part.

Speculation about big questions such as what brought the universe into existence, the meaning of life, whether there is any intent or design to the universe beyond us and even speculation about an afterlife, is all fodder for good discussion.

There is still a lot that we don't know. I think religion makes a mistake when speculations about these things are thought of as being proven fact. Speculation does have a place in real science, but speculation shouldn't be confused with more proven fact.

Thousands of years ago, many societies thought it was a fact that the earth was flat. This was based on the evidence one sees just standing on the level ground. We could have stuck to those so called facts, or we could speculate and explore the possibilities of things beyond that worldview.

Thursday, June 06, 2024

My dream job; sort of.

When I graduated from college, my dream was to have my own newspaper based on my opinions. A professor told me about something called the IF Stone Weekly; an individual publishing his own paper. Not knowing much about that, I set out to publish on my own.

Since then, the advent of social media has, basically, given me my own media outlet. Not huge, but still, it's me.

Before Facebook and all of that, I did some self publishing. Sent little newsletters out in the mail. Even had my own second hand mimeograph machine, for a while.

It never got very far in terms of commercial viability, but I've had a good time all along. My work as a custodian paid the bills.

I have links to things, including this blog, my Flickr and Facebook walls, at

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Pandemic is mostly old news as the vaccines and other factors have brought most of life back to pre pandemic normal.

Factionalism within the anti vax folks means potential problems for the Trump Campaign as Kennedy's third party bid could drain away Trump voters.

Trump did support Operation Warp Speed vaccine research at beginning of pandemic, but is now trying to also appeal to anti vax crowd.

Meanwhile, it does seem like pandemic is mostly old news as the vaccines and other factors have brought most of life back to pre pandemic normal.

Saving money by putting the elderly more at risk.

About the stereotype of conservatives and liberals, I got to thinking that conservatives were less enthused about the shutdown of businesses during the pandemic. They tended to think schools and business should have been allowed more leeway to be open.

That would have lead to more deaths of vulnerable and elderly people whereas younger people, such as school children, were less apt to die from the pandemic.

Less elderly helps the budget by saving money spent on Medicare. Meanwhile school age folks are said to be suffering now, due to lack of face to face school during quarantine. Maybe the old folks could have taken a hit for the team, so to speak, as I remember a lieutenant governor, in Texas, suggested early on in the pandemic.

On the other hand, I'm glad they tried to reduce death rates during the pandemic. I also have heard that some children learned better on line than sitting in classroom settings.

The cup is either half full or half empty. Things are a tradeoff and there are both good and bad consequences to various choices that governments make. There is sure a lot of complaining about things, however.

Encouraging news from India.

India has had a big election recently. Looks like moderately good news. The prime minister, Modi, said to be somewhat of a one sided religious nationalist, did win reelection, but opposition parties gained ground. He was expecting more of a landslide. I think he will have to work with the opposition and form coalitions.

India is now the most populous country in the world surpassing China, so what happens in India can make a big splash.

India has quite a few different religions besides the majority Hindu. It also has Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikh and other religions as well as non believers; a country with lots of diversity of thought. USA, another country with diversity of thought.

Maybe Trump and much of his evangelical Christian base should just admit that they are into hedonism and the prosperity gospel.

Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and even Richard Nixon got into trouble with coverups. In Trump's case, hush money paid to keep Stormy Daniels from talking about an affair. In Clinton's case lying about the Monica Lewinski affair. In Nixon's case, the Watergate Coverup.

I wonder what would have happened if Trump, for instance, had just been open about it? How would the Evangelical Christian base react? How many of them would part company with him, or stick with him?

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Should we have different interest rates for different uses?

Creating new money can lead to inflation. Here are some partial solutions I think might help tame the inflation problem a bit.

People talk about the Fed creating different windows for providing money, like teller windows in a bank.

For instance, I think about this related to funding the private sector. Create a window of low interest loans to fund new supply for things we need like housing. Low interest rates if business is building new housing; especially affordable housing, but even just housing in general. There was the phrase "drill baby drill." Now we can have "build baby build." Bring on more supply to satisfy supply and demand.

Another window would jack up iterest rates if the money is used by private investors to bid up the price of existing real estate and assets. A high interest rate for speculators bidding up prices, but not accomplishing new supply.

As for government debt, which is often accused of driving up inflation by creating the need to print money, we do seem to need government. Yes, we can try to make it more efficient, but the big items in government spending are usually off the table, so to speak, for cuts. Medicare, Military, Veterans benefits, disaster relief. Other tiny parts of the budget, like NASA are also important. I like things like advancing science, but even conservatives seem to want "American exceptionalism." If we cut NASA, or something like the Biden Chips program, we could be seading the high ground in STEM to other countries like China.

Speaking of disaster relief, the pandemic is an example of all bets are off. We aren't going to cut now, we do need 3 trillion more dollars to get us through this situation.

How about allowing the government to "lock in" the prevailing interest rate at the time that the spending was authorized?

Before and during the pandemic, interest rates were low. We borrowed on the cheap. Similar to what many homeowners get, can the government lock in low interest rates on past debt; like a mortgage?

Now some folks are worried about inflation. One of the worse examples of inflation during and soon after the pandemic was the rise in home values. I hear close to 20% in a year. Rents going up also. This contributing to what is called housing insecurity for many folks.

We do need to ratchet up interest rates on speculation, but there are things we still need for our survival that could still go to the low rate window.

We need to build more housing for our growing population and economy, but another bank, the Earth, is also limited. Sprawl all over the farmlands of Whatcom County.

Reduce population growth, smaller homes and footprints for each individual. Live like my (Robert Ashworth) lifestyle. It's a trade off between materialism growth versus some aspects of quality in life. Take time for friendships, slow travel and so forth even if it doesn't pay the money bills. One can still enjoy the fruits of advancing technology. Smartphones do have a smaller footprint than the old style vacume tube radios and televisions.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Do Smartphones distract from meaningful, face to face conversation, or is it the cute dogs folks see out of the corner of their eyes?

In the old days of newspapers, there was the term "above the fold." This was headlines and parts of stories that were on the front page; such as visible in a newspaper vending box, above the fold of the front page. People are less likely to see it and read if it's below the fold.

On Facebook, it's "above the fold" if one doesn't have to click "see more" to read it. On X (formerly Twitter) there is no below the fold; so to speak. X is basically just sound bytes except following a link in the post.

I seldom if ever use X.

These days, there is so much information available that people tend to scroll past lots of stuff. The brain and amount of time available limits how much information we can absorb so folks often avoid going into more depth of discussion.

Being on line exasperates lack of depth to some extent, but it also can enhance depth depending on how it's used. One can navigate something, like Facebook, slowly and interact with more depth given topics one interested in.

We can blame electronics, but I also notice, in face to face conversation, that some folks can be focused valuing depth while others are constantly distracted by things going on around them. When an interesting topic comes up, some folks will interrupt after just a few words when they notice a cute dog walking by.

Someone might ask, "what do you think about the economy," or something like that and then, after one sentence of conversation, someone in the group will notice a dog walking by. They will say, "Oh that's a nice poodle what an interesting color of fir."

Then the dog walker will stop and the conversation switches to types of dogs and so forth. "Where did you get that poodle?"

Often the dogs, themselves, try to have conversation barking and so forth; especially when two parties of people meet who both have dogs.

Dogs sometimes argue as well. One time someone told me that he was walking his dog at a park and another person came along walking a dog. The two dogs started barking and the leashes got tangled. Eventually the two dog owners started arguing as they were trying to untangle the leashes.

If it isn't the dogs, it might be an unusual car driving by. "Look at that pink Cadillac," "I haven't seen one like that in years." Yes, someone's phone often rings to provide distraction as well, but even without cellphones, the distractions of our surroundings can be numerous. We are a species of animal reacting to the things around us. Depth in thought and conversation is often scattered.

Is the middle class American dream actually sustainable?

A big part of the reason why it's harder to get into the American middle class, these days, is that much of the middle class lifestyle is no longer sustainable given it's carbon footprint and so forth. Less space for single family homes given need for things like farmland and habitat preservation.

What constitutes the "good life" needs to be redefined. The 1950s vision is harder to attain these days. A new vision could involve smaller residences, but more advanced technology. There were no Smartphones in the 1950s.

Our community life is different also. Gay rights was in the closet, back then, there were less bike paths, less parks and cheaper schools.

In many ways, life and culture has flourished since the old days. Expectations have grown higher, given things like treatment of disabled people, for instance. There's more worry about protecting the environment, today. Some of toxic things, in the 1950s, were more out of sight, out of mind so maybe there was less anxiety about certain things than there is today. There are around twice as many people in USA today. This can mean more traffic versus the open road.

To regain a sense of gratitude, it seems like we need to redefine our expectations of what the good life means.

Re electing Joe Biden can buy us more time to incrementally create changes toward a more sustainable society.

I tend to be a political moderate leaning slightly to the left. I still like Biden.

Some folks, that are farther left, may not plan to vote for Biden, but it looks like the only other viable choice is Donald Trump.

I think most people tend to be fairly moderate, but some are extreme left while others are extreme right. I think extreme right outnumbers extreme left of voters; especially in rural areas. It looks like it's going to be either Biden or Trump unless one of them dies or steps aside.

The Electoral College tends to give people, in the many low population rural states, an edge over folks in populated states; like California. This factor, plus the larger chunk of voters to the far right, compared to the far left, makes a second Trump term likely. I think most people are more in the middle or even slightly to the left so Biden is closer to that then Trump, but Trump could still win.

To create a society more to the left than Biden, the people need to practice what we preach as consumers, voters and so forth. Our society tends to be too materialistic.

When someone, like Biden is in power, we could flank him to the left by electing more left leaning people in Congress, but what usually happens is the Congress tends to swing more right during a democratic administration. Our politics is like a pendulum.

People on the far left tend to forget that a large segment of "the people" are on the far right. "Power to the people" can swing us to the right. Admittedly, maybe lots of the people are easily deceived, but that's still the reality in politics.

Left leaning politicians often get more pressure from Congress, economics, circumstances and the public to veer right rather than veer more left. When gas prices go up, political pundits say it's bad news for Biden. Supply and demand effects oil prices. More supply brings down prices as oil fluctuates. US has some of the least expensive oil prices in the world; especially compared to Europe. US is now producing record amounts of oil during the Biden Presidency; or I would more likely say, "in spite of the Biden Presidency."

How the masses of people live our lives as citizens, consumers and voters can support either left or right leaning economic circumstances and politics.

Is it better for the environment to keep an old car or buy a new electric car?

There is a lot of misinformation circulating critical of electric cars. At the same time, there are some valid things to consider related to electric cars and transportation.

Considering how much driving one expects to do in their future, there is a breakeven point as to whether it's less consumptive to keep an old car versus buying a new car.

Not using a car at all, seems best to me. On the other hand, I would guess that buying a new electric car is far better, for the environment, than buying a new gas car, if one is buying a new car.

People might forget that the battery is only one part of the car and I think battery materials can be recyclable. The battery may not be as consumptive as some people contend, but buying a new car means more than just the battery. There is still the consumption in making a new car, be it either gas or electric.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Heat pump collection pipes could be installed alongside underground electrical wiring so one would only have to dig once to install both systems.

Some of my thoughts about heat pumps.

Heat pump collection pipes could be installed alongside underground electrical wiring so one would only have to dig once to install both systems. One trench could serve for both the underground wiring and the "ground to heat pump" collection pipes. One could think about heat pump possibilities when installing underground wiring.

Beyond the ground is the idea of heat transfer from moving water; such as seawater in a video I saw about Denmark.

I would guess moving water is even more efficient than the ground since the ground is insulating so heat transfer from the ground is slower. Moving water always brings new warm water to the system for heat transfer.

I think most heat pumps, in homes and small buildings of USA, are air to air systems. These systems bring moving air to the system for heat transfer. Similar to water, it's moving, but during winter, air can be much colder than most bodies of water so the heating is less efficient.

Still air to air systems are less expensive to install than ground pipe, or water based systems so that's why they are more common. Here's one more thought.

As more of Bellingham installs heat pumps, people are likely to opt for air conditioning since it's easy to include with a heat pump system. This might mean more load on the electrical grid, during summer months in Bellingham, as more people will have air conditioning that didn't have it before.

For summer air conditioning, solar is a good fit as during sunny hot days, solar is producing power closer to the times when air conditioning is needed.

I like just contemplating about things in my mind though, admittedly, I'm not an expert at anything.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Feuding fundamentalists.

It seems like a lot of wars are related to fundamentalist and intolerant interpretations of religion. Religion can be open minded and tolerant as well, but that's the more "liberal" interpretation of religion.

Having said that, I am glad that the Iron shields worked to stop those missiles and drones, from Iran, before they blew up civilians. Israel has also taken a turn toward more conservatism with the current prime minister which has worried me, but technology that defensively prevents killing is good; at least from what I gather in the news. Admittedly I only see part of the story, of course.

Natural gas is often still a backup for alternative energy.

Some folks say that solar power is not that good on the grid since it's hard to store for when the sun isn't shining. Batteries are a bit difficult, but on the grid natural gas is often used as a backup.

Yes, natural gas isn't necessarily evil. It's often used as a backup for solar and wind farms when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing.

We are using at least less fossil fuels when the sun is shining. Natural gas is often used as a backup fuel and of course people still are burning lots of fossil fuels driving cars, heating homes and using electricity, these days, anyway.

Here in the northwest, hydropower is a good backup to green energy as well and batteries are getting better.