A day working at home and, intermittently but determinedly, reading Ian McEwen‘s novel Solar, which I finished literally as the sun touched the western horizon, scratched by high-flying jets making good the huge global travel deficit of the past week. But the extraordinary silence in Barnes continues, with the air traffic taking off westwards, I assume.
Many, many years ago, perhaps in 1987, I did a multiple review of novels that addressed green issues, in Green Pages, most of which weren’t that great. But I found Solar really ‘sticky’, not least as the first novel that I know that has name-checked such iconic figures in our landscape as James Lovelock, Stewart Brand, Tim Flannery, Jared Diamond and Paul Ehrlich. The ending of Solar really got me – though the Stones are playing as I write this, rather than the Kinks.
Was interested to see the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, featuring fairly prominently in the story. I visited them in 1981, when they were the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) and Denis hayes was still a Director, for a few days more before Ronald Reagan began to dismantle Jimmy Carter’s solar efforts. (Interested to see on the NREL website today, the home page features – on a 3-image rotator – a photo of Denis speaking in 1970.)
My meeting was Denis was a key reason why nine years later Denis kindly invited me to join the International Board of Earth Day 1990, an initiative whose fortieth anniversary we celebrate today.