Earth Doctor / Climate Troubadour

Only a Fool

I wake up in the morning, Feel like a V.I.P.
Falling on my rooftop, Falling down on me,
Sunshine makes my power During all the daylight hours.
Only a fool would pay for fuel When you can get it for free.

Sun runs my household. Soon it’s gonna drive my car.
It’s right there, it’s everywhere, No matter where you are.
They oughta teach in school, Photons are really cool.
Only a fool would pay for fuel When you can get it for free.

My meter running backward All day long.
It’s such a happy feeling, I’ve got to sing this song.

Everyone knows we’ve got  sun, From sea to shining sea.
Digging it up from out of the ground’s So 20th century!
We’re heading in a new direction. Talking ‘bout a course correction.
Only a fool would pay for fuel When you can get it for free.

Sunshine makes my power During all the daylight hours.
Only a fool would pay for fuel When you can get it for free.

Words & music ©Doug Hendren 2015

What’s it about? Solar energy is free. While we have to pay for the technology, the energy is free. With coal, gas and oil, we pay for the technology, and the energy as well. There are hidden costs, too: air and water pollution, cleanup, extreme weather events and climate mitigation. There are also medical costs, as there are with tobacco smoking. A smoker may pay for his cigarettes, but everybody pays for his medical care. Hidden taxes. Economists refer to these extra costs as “negative externalities”, and US taxpayers are paying plenty to subsidize the old and historically very profitable fossil fuel companies.  A recent Harvard study  found that Americans are subsidizing $500 billion in medical costs from burning coal in the United States every year.  A 2013 IMF report estimated worldwide fossil subsidies at a whopping $1.9 trillion per year. Who is paying these hidden costs? You are. With solar energy, in contrast, the energy is free, and free of unwanted “side effects”. We won’t be poisoning our water with sunshine, nor going to war over wind supplies. The energy is free, and the technology to capture it gets cheaper every day. Renewable energy is now the cheapest energy in most world markets, though fossil industry tries to deny it. The banks behind these companies are catching on, however, shifting investments out of fossil and into renewable energy. Solar cost is projected to fall as much as 40% more by 2016, and most observers believe that some sort of carbon tax on fossil fuels is both fair and inevitable, as was the case for tobacco years ago. According to Bloomberg business news (see below), the world is now adding more renewable energy generation than energy from all fossil sources combined. The turning point was 2013, marking the beginning of the end for fossil fuels. The economics now favor renewables. What stands in our way? The concentrated power of the fossil fuel industry over our representatives in Congress. They use money to pervert public policy, undermine our democracy, and deceive the public. Don’t be fooled. Climate change is real, dangerous and urgent. Check out this “Infographic” from the Union of Concerned Scientists separating the Science from the Fiction. They can’t fool everybody!  People are finding out for themselves that renewable energy is the way to go. If we do it quickly enough, we can still salvage a livable world for those who come after us. Find out how the world can transition to 100% clean, renewable energy with today’s technology (Stanford University, The Solutions Project). Doing the right thing has other perks, too. Anyone with rooftop solar will tell you it’s really fun to watch that electric meter go backward! More Information: Bloomberg business: Fossil Fuels just lost the race against renewables The Guardian: 10 Reasons to be hopeful we will overcome climate change. The Guardian: Fossil fuels are way more expensive than you think. No Fuel Costs: The sexy seduction of renewables The Great Transition. Dave Pruett on how easy it is to go solar. Renewable energy is growing faster than anyone predicted. Why solar costs will fall another 40% in just two years Myth of cheap shale gas and cheap energy The success of Germany’s energy transition. How taxpayer money is subsidizing big oil. 100% renewables target could save major economies $500bn+ a year.


  1. Keep up the good work, Dr. Hendren! Very good points you make.

  2. A most excellent poem/song. Perhaps I should have you sing it here at our library!!!

  3. Excellente! Let’s sing it from the rooftops! A solar anthem at last!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *