Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Inheriting the mantle of solar leadership

Bill Sinkin has long been a proponent of solar power in the Alamo City. But he is nearly 100 years old now (literally), and his son has taken over the reins of Solar San Antonio, a local non-profit that tries to get people to convert to solar-powered systems.

Lanny Sinkin, however dedicated he may be to furthering his father's legacy, may still find time to devote to his other interests and pursuits. And you will have to be the judge of whether or not that ends up being a good thing for the local environmental movement.
A few years before Lanny Sinkin became the leader of a local nonprofit that advocates for solar power, he flew to Washington and knocked on the door of the White House with a document that would prove an even harder sell than investments in solar panels.

It was a declaration that the Kingdom of Hawaii had seceded from the United States.


The Kingdom of Hawaii, illegally overthrown by the United States more than a century ago, has been restored, he says, and a king, to whom Sinkin serves as chief advocate and spiritual adviser whenever he's not running Solar San Antonio, is in place.

The “king,” Edmund Keli'i Silva Jr., a fisherman and kung fu instructor on the island of Oahu, is also a convicted felon who served 13 years in prison for stealing more than half a million dollars.


A former environmental attorney, Sinkin once sued Bush on behalf of “the Cetacean Community” — whales — over the use of underwater sonar. An appeals court ruled that animals could not file lawsuits.

His father, the bow-tied, 98-year-old Bill Sinkin, is a civic hero who founded Solar San Antonio in 1999.


Sinkin's quest to regain a lost civilization began with plutonium in deep space.

As an attorney at the Christic Institute, a now-defunct public interest law firm in Washington, Sinkin fought a 1980s bid by NASA to launch a plutonium-powered probe to Jupiter.


“He sat down with me,” [jail-bound self-styled "king"] Silva said. “He looked like a person who lived out of a suitcase, his clothes all wrinkled. But he was full of light and full of energy.”

Sinkin helped Silva win parole in 2005, and the “king” returned to his “kingdom.”

“His Chinese animal's a horse,” Sinkin said. “He just galloped into it.”


The kingdom embraces natural laws and ecological principles. It shuns war, promotes love and seeks an age of transformation in which all human beings gain consciousness — “the 5th age,” Sinkin says.


Told of Lanny's aim to “create the 5th age, one solar panel at a time,” [Bill] Flannery [from the board of directors of Solar San Antonio] was nonplussed.

“That's kind of fascinating,” he said. “That never came up.”
(from the Express-News)

Is this the future of the "green" movement in San Antonio? Or has it always been the unvarnished present?

You decide.


mick said...

Interesting local story. I was with you right up until the end where you ask if future solar advocates will be insane or if they always have been. Way to damn a whole group of people based on one guy's ramblings.

Albatross said...

I was meaning to lightly denigrate the "green" movement in general for advocating policies that are expensive and that restrict people's freedom to make choices, often using fear tactics and made-up statistics. Solar power just happens to be one aspect of "green" efforts, and this story was too good for me to pass up without pointing at it.

Don't get me wrong, I do believe that solar power is practical in certain applications. Such as on orbiting space craft. But it is wildly impractical as a means of powering entire cities on the planet Earth, and anyone who thinks we can do just that (and do it cheaper and with less impact on the environment than conventional technologies) is a bit out there. And probably advocates for kings in prison in Hawaii.

But that's just my opinion. Yours probably differs.

mick said...

Neither this story, nor the one you link look like fear tactics to me.

Regarding the link, just because a number is approximate, doesn't mean it's inaccurate. The estimates become more precise with more info, but that doesn't make any part of it "made up".

Thanks for the civil conversation. It gives me faith in my fellow man when we can actually discuss things.

Albatross said...

Same here, Mick.