ENERGY. This is the ‘stuff’ that runs our society! How do we adapt to less energy in our future, while embracing a (rapid) transition to carbon-free energy power sources?
Fossil fuels are pretty new to the human time-line, yet have completely shaped/re-shaped our species’ way of living on this planet, in a very short time (15o years). What will our society be when it is gone, or nearly gone? Will we survive that long, in the face of global climate change instigated by the mining, production, and burning of fossil-fuels?
The world as we know it, today, is largely shaped by the dominion of mankind over *FINITE* fossil fuel reserves. The folks who make the decisions that affect us all are those who control the fossil fuel supplies/production/and distribution. Governments are beholden to the oil, gas and coal companies profit-driven interests. Wars are fought to control access and to claim reserves. International economics are in the currency of oil. What do we do when we don’t want the tops blown off of the Appalachian Mountains to power casinos in Atlantic City? How do we stop the strip-mining and contamination of every eco-system on the planet?
These are big questions, and they need some BIG answers!
First: Reduce Wasted energy. Insulate and caulk your home. Drive 55 mph on the highway (if you must drive). Don’t waste energy on consumer goods you’re not using. Kill your energy ‘vampires’!
Second: USE LESS ENERGY. Simple, just U-S-E L-E-S-S! Walk more. Drive less. Use a clothes line, instead of gas dryer. Light only the room you’re using. Skip the A.C. when you can. Wear sweaters and lower your thermostat in the Winter. LED lighting instead of incandescent bulbs. Opt for locally sourced and produced, and ‘low-tech’ supplies and consumer goods. Don’t purchase disposable and single-use products which are not necessary. We all know how to do this stuff. Just do it!
Third: Choose to use energy produced by renewable resources (wind and solar powered electricity, for example). You can opt for wind-powered supply from the local utility company, or you can produce your own solar, wind, geothermal, power at home, and feed surplus to the grid.
Fourth: Re-use, and re-purpose goods when you can, instead of recycling them. Recycling is better than just putting everything in the land-fill, but not generating a bunch of waste (most of which is manufactured with, and sometimes from, fossil fuels) in the first place is even better! Opt for the low-carbon option, whenever you can.
Fifth: Consider the life cycle of your consumer goods, before you make purchases. A new Prius is nice, because it gets decent gas mileage, but the amount of fossil fuels used to manufacture it is huge. If the 12 year old compact car gets 26 mpg, and the Prius gets 45 mpg, which has the lesser carbon footprint? The answer may surprise you! Consider the whole manufacturing and shipping cycle before you replace the old appliance with a new ‘Energy Star’ appliance. The impact may be less if you wait until the old one ‘dies’ before investing in a new ‘Energy Star’ item.
Sixth: Advocate for sane energy policies and practices, at all levels of government, and as a consumer influencing the business world. Stand up and Protest against planet destroying policies and practices which promote and exploit fossil fuel production and consumption. Lobby your elected officials to legislate in favor of renewable energy, and against fossil fuel resource exploitation. Put your money where your head/heart/health is…. buy less, boycott more. Support businesses who are good stewards of the environment, and who opt for low/no carbon best practices. Support renewable energy cooperatives, and businesses.
Seventh: Do what you can to ENCOURAGE EVERYONE YOU KNOW, and meet, to do numbers one through six, listed above!