Only two things will change the minds of science skeptics: appeals to their ego, or their wallets.
People do not want to give up their cherished beliefs, says author Margaret Atwood, especially the ones they find most comforting. What appears obvious and enlightening to atheists like Richard Dawkins, for example, it isn’t so straightforward for those whose identity and community is hinged on a certain set of beliefs. One person's liberation is another's nightmare.
It’s a very human quality to avoid things that are inconvenient or unappealing. Our days are vastly improved if we know to avoid the store with the long queues, to steer clear of dairy or gluten if it makes us sick, and to not order the whole roast duck if its head, still attached, is too much of a reminder. At some point, though, it’s necessary to confront uncomfortable truths – especially when a failure to do so affects the quality of human life (and all life) in a broader context. At that juncture, our avoidance moves beyond self-preservation and enters into exactly the opposite.
This mindset is what fuels anti-intellectualism, says Atwood, and it always has. When Galileo supported and expanded Copernicus’ heliocentric model of our solar system, he was punished by the church (Copernicus died too quickly to be reprimanded). Charles Darwin came under fire when he suggested we weren’t created but that we evolved. When new ideas interrupt what's comfortable, many will reject and discredit it simply to not have to change their behavior. Is this sounding familiar yet?
There will be a point when the position of climate-change deniers will shift, explains Atwood, but it won't be until the idea starts to appeal to our ego, or to our wallets. When the green energy sector becomes profitable enough, expect a sudden reduction in the amount of climate change opposition. "That will be the real tipping point in public consciousness in this country," Atwood says. She believes Elon Musk is the "wave of the future", with Tesla cars and the Powerwall home battery. When his technology becomes affordable and therefore profitable, the idea of green energy will truly have arrived in the wider consciousness.
Margaret Atwood's new book is Hag-Seed.
Elon Musk has a plan and part of that plan came together when it acquired SolarCity for $2.6 billion.
Elon Musk has a plan and part of that plan came together when it acquired SolarCity for $2.6 billion in November 2016. This deal will ultimately allow Tesla to sell all-electric goods under one, unified brand.
“The transaction is a necessary step toward Tesla’s goal of becoming a sustainable energy company,” Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., an influential shareholder proxy service, stated in a vote of confidence for Musk’s controversial plan.
The Tesla name has become synonymous with sleek all-electric cars (and inventor Nikola Tesla), but Tesla hasn’t been just a car company for over a year, ever since Musk stepped on stage to announce Tesla's Powerwall home battery. Since then the company has continued to unveil home-energy products – most recently a re-imagined set of solar tiles for rooftops.
We all know Musk is out to save the human race. This acquisition creates a virtuous cycle. Tesla showrooms will not only become a place where you can look for a new car, but where you can purchase home batteries and solar panels — a one-stop shop for all your home energy needs.
The acquisition makes even more sense when you consider Musk’s Master Plan, which he wrote back in 2006:
So, in short, the master plan is:
Build sports car
Use that money to build an affordable car
Use that money to build an even more affordable car
While doing above, also provide zero emission electric power generation options
Don't tell anyone.
Musk has since updated it in July 2016 under the title Master Plan, Part Deux:
Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it
It's likely Tesla won't see the benefits from this acquisition for a while. This move is not a get-rich-quick investment, its part of a long-term vision Musk has already planned.
One day after the acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla tweeted that Ta'ū, an island in American Samoa, is running on nearly 100% solar energy thanks to 5,300+ solar panels and 60 Tesla Powerpacks. Before solar, Ta'ū used 109,500 gallons of imported diesel annually, which cost it $8 million every year and made it reliant on other countries to run its generators.