Thursday, May 24, 2007

Amish stay green

The Baltimore Sun reports: [edited]

Down a curvy road and past square fields, gray barns, still plows and grazing cows, a visitor will eventually arrive at Andrew Stoltzfus' workshop. This is Amish country - the horse and buggy are a dead giveaway - yet there, in the middle of his shop's rusty metal roof, sits a tiny nod to contemporary society.

Stoltzfus is an Amish traditionalist. He works with his hands at a sawmill, wears plain clothes and the requisite straw hat, and doesn't care much for the conveniences of the mainstream world. But he uses solar energy to charge batteries for buggy lights, flashlights and the nebulizer that his 6-year-old son sometimes uses for his asthma.

Most Amish people hook up only a few panels - compared with the 40 or 60 it would take to keep a typical American home running. They use solar electricity for such things as lights, refrigerators, cordless tools, medical equipment, air purifiers and well pumps for their homes, electric fences and water filtration systems on farms, and phones, pagers, copiers, burglar alarms, cash registers and computers at businesses.

The irony of the Amish leading the so-called modern world down an alternative energy path delights Spratley of Green Energy Ohio.

"I think we can always learn something from people who may not have all the high technology we're inundated with," he said. "It certainly shows energy independence can be done, and done in this [temperate] climate."

1 comment:

Simon said...

That's amazing to hear. I always liked the Amish as they are proof that the Bible can be read and translated in a way in which allowes them to live at one with each other. Unlike the rest of the bible belt in America where it seems to be abused as a form of gaining capital.

It also surprises me that such a collection of people are leading the way with alternative energy use. The fact that they can be fully self sustained is a strong message for us all.