Before helicopter parenting was in our lexicon, my parents allowed me the opportunity to become an avid outdoorsman and hunter while I was still a teenager. Like many people who spent time alone in the woods, I quickly became aware of the damage that we were inflicting on our environment. Thus, it should come as no surprise that on April 22 in 1970 as a sophomore in high school, I fully embraced the very first Earth Day. On that day, Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) launched what was to become the initial wave of environmental activism. This nascent movement was created in response to the catastrophic direction America and the world was taking towards earth and its resources.
Green ideology, environmentalism, ecologism morphed into broader theories, many driven by political and social agendas. The political philosopher, Murray Bookchin was a pioneer in the ecology movement and developed a theory called social ecology. Being a small business owner, I couldn’t embrace his anti-capitalist, anarchist beliefs. The United Nations was more tolerant and less strident when it published the Brundtland Report in1987 and coined the term, “sustainable development” where “development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Unfortunately, the word “sustainability” has lost much of its legitimacy due to overuse by marketers.
The lead-in graphic to this post depicts a recent screen capture of the Killer Bees Honey photovoltaic production and battery storage system. Using a 7kW PV array, we produce 43kW a day. The electricity we don’t use charges a SonnenBatterie Eco 16 which then powers the house at night. When the system is fully charged, the excess power feeds back into the grid. We are the only honey producers in North Carolina which have this installation.
The honey production center is heated in the winter by a Jotul stove, our home, with an 80,000 BTU wood burning fireplace. Both have catalytic combustors that possess the EPA's highest efficiency burn rating. A great deal of the furniture in our home was made of wood harvested from our home site. Speaking of which, both the home and the honey processing center were designed and built with energy efficient materials and appliances.
From the use of PET bottles for our products to the solar-powered LED lights in our fulfillment center, sustainability is more than a catchphrase for Killer Bees Honey. It is a fundamental and guiding principle in my life.