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  • Writer's pictureTiana Starks

A New Solar Power Deal From California

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

I met Devon Hartman a few years ago in Claremont, California, where I have been living since 2008. He is tall and lean, wearing glasses and a pointed small beard. He grew up in Kansas. And for thirty-five years, he presided over a successful architectural firm, building and renovating expensive houses with little awareness of the carbon footprint of those houses.

The reasons I came to know this energetic member of my community had nothing to do with architecture or construction. Rather, I kept seeing him at City Council meetings and activities of Sustainable Claremont, a small local environmental organization. He used to encourage homeowners to insulate their homes. His company had a flourishing market in exactly that useful house improvement. However, I used to tell him, better yet, put solar panels on the roof of your house. I did that the moment I bought my house in Claremont in 2009. He would smile, saying I was on the right track.

China and ecological civilization

Hartman was also a friend of a friend of mine: John Cobb, a Claremont theologian with intense interest in China and ecological civilization. That – the ecological idea — caught my attention immediately. I met Cobb and realized he shared my concerns about industrialized farming and climate change. Both of us also have a healthy distrust for things large: corporations,   agribusiness companies, militaries, polluters. He and I hit it off, agreeing that China could probably move to the promised land of ecological civilization through its ancient traditions and peasantry.

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