Jaquith points in the right mirror
Janis Jaquith is right that it’s the consumer, not the energy companies, to blame for the problems caused by energy consumption. [August 9 essay: “Post-derecho: I realize I’m the eco-catastrophe”]
But while no one should feel guilty about taking advantage of today’s technology that allows us to live more comfortably, people should feel guilty about keeping a house “frosty” during the warm months and downright hot in the cold months.
When you condition the air in an entire house (especially one that is much bigger than you really need it to be) just so you can be comfortable in one room, you are wasting a non-renewable resource as well as contributing to environmental harm.
Although some people don’t want to believe that mankind is responsible for the global climate change that is taking place, no one can deny that we have caused the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. CO2 produced from burning fossil fuels and forests (human activities that have been done on an unprecedented scale since the industrial revolution) has a different isotopic composition than atmospheric CO2 and thus is identifiable to source.
(“Isotope” means “same type.” Carbon isotopes are carbon atoms that behave the same chemically but which have different masses.)
So instead of keeping your house at 70 degrees in summer, you could keep it between 76 and 78 (depending upon humidity) and employ a small fan to cool you in each room. Instead of heating the house to 78 degrees and wearing a T-shirt inside in winter, set the thermostat for 68 and dress appropriately for the season (i.e., put on heavier clothes).
Live reasonably instead of extravagantly (i.e., wastefully). Most people don’t require “an array of electronic toys, as well as banks of overhead lights embedded in [their] ceilings.” In fact, if people were more conscientious about turning off lights when they aren’t needed, we wouldn’t be having “those ugly bulbs with mercury inside” forced upon us. The best way to limit energy consumption will always be to simply have the switch set to off!
As long as people make choices that are self-indulgent, lavishing their money unsparingly upon themselves, the Earth and its inhabitants will suffer the consequences.
Folks need to heed Proverbs 21:20: “Precious treasure remains in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.”
Marlene A. Condon