I read recently that the White House is having solar panels installed to help power the complex. I have to commend the President and the government’s landlord, the General Services Administration, for undertaking this ground breaking effort. While the President promised this over 3 years ago, I’ll give him a pass for moving it along. I’m fairly confident the delay was a result of planning to make sure the right system was selected, that the location would not cause a structural or security issue, etc.
Several years ago, the First Lady decided that her family was planting a vegetable garden on the White House grounds. She used this to tout the benefits of a healthy diet, the outdoors and exercise. The First Lady invited children and her daughters to help. This was covered by a wide number of media outlets.
Growing up in Western New York, my family always had a vegetable garden. My grandfather always had tomato plants, string beans and pepper growing. My mother had us dig up a large plot in our back yard to plant vegetables. Our next door neighbor was from Cuba and he had 6 children, he dug up 90% of his back yard to grow food for his family. Over time, I believe we have moved much too far away from our agrarian roots as a society. While it may not be feasible it all parts of the country, I do believe the First Lady reminded up all that we can move closer back in that direction.
Both Solar Panels on the White House and vegetable gardens, may seen like unrelated topics, however, I believe that they are very much related. The President and First Lady are using the traditional power of his office to promote change in our county, without forcing it. Without a new government program, without a mandate or new laws. Without new taxes and without new government spending.
This is leading by example, this is leadership. Hopefully these efforts will make a difference in improving two very significant issues facing America, our dependency on fossil fuels and the obesity epidemic.