Clean, green future not hard to imagine

I was pleased by a recent report detailing the substantial rise in property values in certain neighborhoods that are now the most desirable in the Las Vegas Valley. It was not completely unexpected. Ever since the light rail system was completed back in 2015, the value of nearby homes and businesses really took off. Ridership is more than double the projections. Everyone now wonders why Las Vegans took so long to build one in the first place.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy driving (when necessary). Cars are so hip now. After a night of charging in the garage, I just unplug and go. Sure the hybrid engine comes on once in a while, but around town it is mostly clean, quiet electric power. I get the equivalent of 225 miles per gallon, 10 times that of my old gas-guzzler. And imagine an engine actually running while at a stop light like they used to do — what a waste! I only fill up every other month or so. With the success of the National Transition Initiative we don’t need anyone else’s oil anymore. The oil wars have stopped.

The best thing about plug-in cars is not even the driving. It’s the view. Yeah, I can see the mountains like they were a block away. Air quality is the best it’s been in more than 60 years and asthma is becoming a thing of the past.

Green energy helps a lot, too. Our “power company” has morphed into the “grid company” and its “GreenGrid” promotions are way cool. They manage the flow of energy much as before, and are quite profitable, but without the environmental and financial burdens of burning coal. The new smart grid connects numerous geothermal, solar and wind energy facilities to energy-intelligent homes, appliances and vehicles. Peak loads are almost nonexistent and a few very clean natural gas facilities fill in as needed.

Since the 2010 Nevada legislature passed the famous No-Brainer Bill, renewable energy has transformed our state. We have one of the strongest economies in the world. Coal became such a burden that the plants were dismantled. Nevada ignited a spark that spread across the whole country. Man, did the economy take off then.

Most of us charge our bikes or cars with solar energy credits from each home’s roof-mounted PV array. The No-Brainer Bill made it easy for everyone to install their own clean power system. All new homes are built to the deep-green standards of the updated building code and most older homes have been converted as well. They are much more comfortable and so energy efficient that they hardly need any power at all compared to the old days.

Now that I’m thinking about it, it’s amazing how so many of the problems around the turn of the century were connected. We found that water was connected to energy, which was connected to food, which was connected to … well, you get the picture. Take global warming. The massive “Green US Now” program reduced our country’s CO2 emissions by 85 percent, quicker than anyone imagined, once we got serious about it. Collaborating with other nations helped them achieve the same results, restoring a lot of respect for the U.S.

We still have the drought. It seems so logical now, but back then water was a problem that seemed insurmountable. Now that we treat it like the essential and precious resource it is, we have more water than we need (sans any new pipelines), since every drop is used with maximum efficiency and recycled several times before irrigating. We barely even need sewers and central waste treatment plants anymore. Lake Mead is cleaner than it has ever been.

Yeah, this is a great place. We grow our own organic produce and the food is fantastic. With most of the environmental and growth issues under control, people breathe a lot easier and enjoy life more. I love living in Nevada!

Yesterday I found an old paper in the garage from 2009. There were some big issues and many were worried. I still don’t understand why people were so resistant to change back then. I guess it just took awhile for enough folks to see the light and to find the right leaders. Shifting to a sustainable society was not only a good idea, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.

Now this is a future we can live with.

Steve Rypka is a green living consultant and president of GreenDream Enterprises, a company committed to helping people live lighter on the planet. Steve can be reached via e-mail at More information relating to this column is posted at

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