As I am writing this post, oil is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico (resulting from the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig) at a rate never before seen. The environmental consequences from this one disaster are probably too vast to comprehend.
At the same time, coal continues to be extracted miles beneath where I am currently sitting in rural West Virginia, and just a short distance away, they are blowing the tops off of beautiful and ancient mountains — just to remove more coal.
What may be even more devastating than the negative environmental impact of oil drilling and coal extraction is the talk of building new nuclear power plants — even though we haven’t yet figured out what to do with the tons of toxic nuclear waste that is sitting around in containers all across the world.
Our energy policy is simply insane. Especially considering that right now we have the technology to harness the clean energy generating power of the sun, wind and water.
If you are like us, you are sick and tire of hearing that global warming/climate change is some sort of hoax — especially when a majority of scientists say that the phenomenon is real and that we must do something about it.
Waiting for domestic and multi-national corporations, the US government and governments around the world to take action is a waste of time and — literally — energy.
But what if every environmentally conscious individual on the planet did something in their own lives to reduce their own dependency on fossil fuels?
A new report by Thomas Dietz, a professor at Michigan State University says that household energy consumption is responsible for up to 38% of United States carbon emissions (that counts up to 8% of worldly emissions). He insists that home weatherization, regular vehicle maintenance and choosing the clothesline over the dryer would be enough to reduce US carbon emissions by 5% over a period of just five years, and 7.4% in 10 years.
Dietz’ estimates are not based on any kind of best-case consumer behavior scenario. Rather, they make use of the best available information for the purpose of calculating the number of families that could reasonably be expected to enact such measures if provided information and financial assistance; and whether or not they could interact with others while at it.
But the list excludes possible emissions cuts with emerging technologies and with whole lifestyle changes. At the very least, Dietz claims that these conservation measures analyzed by the researchers include the benefit of a “demonstration effect” i.e. he would have people believe that when people adopt whatever changes, it will not be long before their acquaintances follow suit.
Elisia and I have taken extreme measures to lessen our carbon footprint. And we plan to do more in the future by combining solar panels, micro-hydro and a wind mill to generate all or most of our electricity.
Dietz insists that there is a lot of research that supports the notion that people, companies and even governments will change their behavior when they have seen their peers do it.
We hope we inspire some of you!
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