Is there really an energy crisis in America? In fact, we read about "THE energy crisis" – but is it real at all?
Yes and no.
Yes, there is intense demand for currently produced resources. This is evident with $6+ gas around the globe.
And no, there isn’t truly an energy crisis because there is abundant energy everywhere! We’re just not using the technology to tap it. I recently read an estimate that there was enough energy in one square inch of sunlight to power Los Angeles for a year! True or not? I have no idea if those actual numbers are real but the point is that we’re awash in a gigantic sea of energy that will never run out – if we only have the wisdom to use it.
Still, there are problems with our current system and we often feel so darned powerless as individuals? So what can we do personally to reduce the strain on our current supplies?
Gas Savings Tips: Your Car
A primo tip for saving gas mileage is so obvious as to almost not be worth mentioning: cut down on the air conditioning and heating. I’m a real hyprocrite on this one since summers in Atlanta are so ghastly that I have the AC on almost continuously. I’ve gotten in my car and checked the thermometer – to see 105 degrees. No way am I keeping the AC off. Still, I’m not a total criminal – I have my sunroof open a good deal of the time so that I can get some circulation which keeps the temps down. I recently read that if I’m going below 40 MPH opening the windows helps. But above 45 MPH it harms my fuel efficiency because of the drag effect. True or not? Not being a fuel expert I’m not sure?
I don’t use much gas since I work at home. However, everyone isn’t as blessed as my partner and I. But it does seem a shame to notice all the gas-guzzlers on the highway that have only one person in them. So if it’s possible to carpool [often it isn’t], you will save money and help the planet. Even an occasional walk or bike ride will reduce energy use. That can be carried to extremes, though. I often read advice such as "Walk to the grocery store". Sure. Then I can return lugging a few pounds of groceries on my back? I don’t think so.
Believe it or not, your mood has a lot to do with how you drive. I’ve noticed sometimes that I’ve been furiously driving down the road, foot heavily on the pedal, paying little attention to what’s going on around me – because I’m ticked off at someone. Bad idea. When I notice … and sometimes I don’t, I admit … I make a conscious effort to get back into the present moment, pay attention to my breathing and slow down. This isn’t only a fuel saver – it also helps our bodies & health and cuts down on our chances of having an accident.
Trees & Energy
You most likely know that trees and energy are a perfect match. In fact, trees are little power plants all on their own because they ‘inhale’ carbon dioxide and ‘exhale’ oxygen. According to people who study such things, one single tree can account for a ton of carbon dioxide disposal in its wonderful life.
So plant trees, plant trees, plant trees!
And then, plant some more trees. :-)
Most folks know that the newspapers of today are in trouble! Readership is declining rapidly and many mourn the possible passing of the daily paper. In some ways, I am among that number. On the other hand, millions of trees die every day to supply the pulp for the newspaper. It saves energy to read our news online, which is what I do or to watch it on TV.
Recycle everything possible. Depending upon where you live, this may or may not be easy. Our regular garbage pickup also recycles newspaper (which I don’t read, but I’m glad it’s recycled), liter plastic bottles, glass and cans. We had a nearby recycling company which handled other kinds of plastic, magazines, telephone books, etc, until it burned to the ground. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been rebuilt yet. Still, recycling is becoming easier and we can all do it.
I even recycle food wastes whenever possible. For instance, I make my own healthy iced tea and put the (organic) teabags in my herb garden.
And buy recycled products whenever possible. Many of them are very expensive but some aren’t and the costs will surely drop in the future. At least I hope so.
Use such environmental savers as canvas bags for shopping, thus eliminating the plastic ones from the grocery and department stores.
Boycott Products That Are Energy Wasteful
We can all boycott products that are ‘irresponsible’, in favor of those that are economically helpful. In fact, we can use our boycott power in many ways. For instance, I would never buy a cosmetic that is tested on animals.
Become A Teacher & Example
Teach your kids to be wise stewards of the earth. If they grow up with wise environmental habits, the chances of them continuing throughout a lifetime are excellent – even if they abandon everything you’ve ever taught them during the teen years :-).
And most of all, be an example to those around you. Everyone will not share our concerns but becoming’ preachy’ and judgmental will only damage our cause, rather than help it.
See, there are lot of things YOU can do? We all get the "what’s the use – I’m only one little person’ attitude at times, but by doing your part you will help and possibly inspire others to do otherwise. Why do you think I’m taking the time to write this article on ways to save energy? Simply because it might affect one person – or more – to become a bit more aware. If it does, I will have succeeded.