Thomas Edison, 1931: “I’d Put My Money on Solar”

In 1931, not long before he died, Edison told his friends Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone: I would 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.”

That, from the New York Times Magazine, is the conclusion of an excellent article on the Clean Green Thinking of America’s most famous inventor, Thomas Edison. You can read the whole article here, but the gist is that Edison worked on various green initiatives, including electric cars, wind turbines, and an off-the-grid home in New Jersey that the New York Times then called “utterly and for all time independent of the nearness or farness of the big electric companies.”

From this, we can learn two things. First, apparently “farness” used to be a word. Second, our reliance on cheap fossil fuels has clearly created a kind of stagnation in the energy industry. It’s just as Edison feared, we’ve had to wait until oil and coal are running out to really get serious about utilizing the abundant renewable energy above our heads every day. He wasn’t an environmentalist, so don’t let the New York Times fool you there, but he knew a good idea when he saw one