Bishop to Queen 3

I come from a family of chess players, but as you know if you’ve played the game, that doesn’t mean I’m in any way an expert. But I did play a lot when I was younger and I’m okay at it.

Writers are always looking for metaphors, eg. “In chess as in life…” blah blah.

Chess child

A couple of things that chess taught me were that you should work on the fundamental strengthening of your position early, because this usually benefits you in the long run; tortoise vs. rabbit. Whatever. Some will argue.

And you should also try not to become married to any one plan, ever. The game is complex, with thousands of variables, and you have to keep re-evaluating with fresh eyes. That’s why computers are good at it, while humans become fatigued and make rash errors.

It seems to me I did well in games when I was able to dominate the centre of the board and also, as my father always coached, when I was able to ‘develop my pieces.’ By that he meant get your knights and bishops off the baseline and into strategically powerful positions where they are covered by the other pieces.

Many people love their powerful knights, but I always seemed to do best if I could get my bishops to Queen 3 and King 3. This seems to be some kind of fundamentally strong long-term strategy.

I think we need to get our bishops to Queen 3 and King 3 when it comes to climate change. By that I mean we really do need to have a longer-term view in life.

I am always stunned when I hear that a clean energy product had to be withdrawn because home owners or business owners thought 4 or 5 years was too long to get their total investment back through savings on energy. Often these products continue saving their owners money for 20 or 30 years, but that’s just too long-term for most people.


A perfect example is a water heater introduced in 2012 by GE called a Geospring. The company added a small air source heat pump to the top of the unit. It was 70% more energy efficient than older models, was relatively expensive, and the home owners who bought them recovered the difference in about three years, through utility savings.

Apparently that was not fast enough and GE withdrew the product in 2016. Some might argue that they should have tried a different business case and targetted to LEED consultants or something, but I’m intellectualizing, instead of focussing on the real problem. We are too short-term in our thinking.

It might be that we’re just broke and living paycheque-to-paycheque, but I just don’t understand why a market could not have been found for this product. A three-year payback on an item that cost a few hundred dollars? Followed by years of hot water bills at 70% less? What’s wrong with this picture?

I think many of us look in a similar short-term way at the bigger items like thermal retrofits, new windows, heat pumps, geothermal and solar. We’re afraid to make the investment in case it doesn’t pan out. Yet the evidence is piling up that in 99% of cases clean energy saves a lot of cash.

Electric cars will save you $18,000-$20,000 on fuel, and thousands on maintenance. If it’s an electric fleet vehicle these numbers go way up. Clean energy isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do.

So please, while there is still time, move your bishops to Queen 3 or King 3. Believe me, you’ll thank me at the end of the game.


  • I understand the long view but I also understand the limitations of poverty. That said, I don’t own a car, I don’t have an airconditioner. I try to use electrical devices only during off peak times. When possible I hang wash out. I really do recycle everything I can. I buy old sheets from VV for my quilts, I compost, I have rainbarrels. The last major expenditure I had in the house was putting some insulation in and improving the wiring and I did as much of it myself as I could safely do. I ride the bus with people who get up before the rest of the city to work in the poorly paid jobs that make the rest of the city work. Many of these people are proud owners of these little bungleos built just after the war, tough little brick shit houses. They are exhausted and frugal and just asking not to have to pay anymore of their megre wages. The fault is in the government. The fault is in the profit mentality of industry that ignores any market that is not just a consuming monster. No matter how good your game strategy is, if a bully just wipes the pieces off the board every time you think you have a chance what point is there? Exhaustion is sometimes a fete du compli. (sp?)

  • fait accompli

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