Saturday, April 17, 2010

Is it time to power down? Considering the true costs of energy

Going Green Mama hops back on her soapbox....

Typically it takes an energy crisis, unseasonably hot or cool weather, skyrocketing prices or another act of nature or greed for people to start rethinking how they use the resources we have.

But maybe we ought to be thinking beyond ourselves and our wallets.

A few days ago, following the coal miners' accident, a bishop in West Virginia commented:
"Our country should realize that West Virginia pays too high a price when we turn on our electricity...As one of the greatest suppliers of electricity in our country, we must reflect on what producing this energy truly costs."

Is a person's life worth the risk that it takes to produce the electricity we use on a daily basis? Can we find some way to reduce our household's burden, whether it's cutting back on the number of cell phones we have, appliances plugged in, the televisions in the house?

What about altering our home's thermostat a few degrees cooler in the winter or warmer in the summer? Is the minor discomfort (until you're used to the change) worth it?

Or what about powering down your PCs after a day in the office, rather than just logging off?

I just wonder what would happen if we each were just a bit more conservative in our energy use and taxed our resources just a bit less. Would that have made the difference?

8 comments:

Penny Basket said...

Besides lowering my own power use, I would write to companies to join programs such as http://www.climatesaverscomputing.org

It's a win-win-win situation. They lower their cost, perhaps we get lower prices, and the environment is better off...

Juliana Crespo said...

Great blog post. The more we think this way, the better things will be in the long run, and I think we're moving in that direction. I've done a couple of things, like getting rid of my cell phone, using flannel (for #1), and planning on buying solar panels this year, that makes me feel like I'm taking steps in the right direction. It's gotta start somewhere :).

A Green Spell said...

Great post - thank you!

Kellie said...

That's a very powerful quote. Thanks!

Wendy said...

For us, it was eliminating redundancy. Instead of using the dryer, for instance, I dry my clothes on a clothesline, and instead of having a television/DVD, when we watch movies, we do so on the computer (and a laptop uses considerably less power than a desktop).

It really is an exercise in awareness, and having grown up in a coal mining community, I know, firsthand, that the cost is much greater than just the tragedy of things like miners dying as a result of collapses or gas. I think what people who've never been to a coal mining community don't understand is the huge impact on EVERYONE and everything, from the pollution to the abject poverty that seems to be so prevalent in these communities.

According to the statement from my power company, 8% of the electricity that is used in my house comes from coal. How easy would it be for all of us to reduce our eletricity usage by a mere 8%? Hint: something as simple as cutting out the dryer usage had a significant impact.

Daisy said...

The human impact is huge. Energy isn't something we pay for only in dollars. Very thoughtful post.

Elizabeth B said...

Great post; I've shared it in my Facebook.

Pure Mothers said...

Thoughtful post. I wish that personal consumption was the sole cause because then we could make a difference. But corporations who use a much more significant amount of energy to produce products, run businesses, etc. consume more energy than individuals. As individuals we can purchase wind energy credits, install solar panels, use solar chargers (like Solio) for our cell phones, dry clothing on lines. How about choosing one night each week to read by candlelight instead of watching tv altogether? Thanks for this post!

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