The inventor of the light bulb and avid promoter of electricity, Thomas Edison, warned that the world’s supply of coal and gas would someday run out. This warning came in 1931, earlier than those of any modern green activist. The inventor of most of our electric gadgets and certainly the man who brought electricity into every home, saw the far reaching potential of massive usage of the fuel required to create electricity. Naturally, he wanted to ensure that people would be able to continue using inventions such as,, the Thomas Edison light bulb, long after these fossil fuels run out.
To continue developing electricity for the average person, Edison experimented with alternative energies. He built a number of different gadgets designed to work off the grid. He even managed to build a home that contained a number of electric luxuries in 1912, all running off of batteries in the basement. This off the grid home had batteries powered by a gas generator. However, evidence indicated that the inventor eventually wanted to hook up this home to a wind powered turbine.
Edison was so into the idea of wind power that he mocked up ideas for a windmill to charge up batteries and tried to pitch the idea to several manufacturers to build a prototype. In the end, this particular invention was not to be created by Edison. He still advocated the exploration and use of renewable energy to help lead to a sustainable lifestyle.
One famous Thomas Edison quote shows how much he hoped we would explore these sources of energy:
‘We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy – sun, wind, and tide. I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.’
Edison made this statement in 1931 just weeks before his death to friends, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, both men who also benefited from the world’s growing reliance on fossil fuels.
It seems that Edison’s fear did come true in part. We haven’t started using renewable energy in any significant manner until now, a time when the world is close to running out of that vital fuel. Luckily, we’re finding that he was right about it. Solar, wind, and water power all provide immense amounts of energy.