Monday, July 2, 2018

Politicians Shy Away From Dreadful "C" Word - Conserve!

Why Are Politicians Afraid Of Conserving?
One thing this election has in common with those in prior years is that few politicians broach the subject of conserving our resources and creating intelligent policies to reduce waste and reuse what we have. An article I wrote years ago remains as relevant today as when I wrote it. The subject delved into how candidates shy away from the dreaded "C" word, conserve! It pointed out how the  Presidential candidates at the time did not even bother to mention pursuing an innovative initiative to conserve our resources. While there are many new and exciting ways to recycle and cut energy waste it seems public officials are almost afraid to talk about conservation. It is as if they will offend someone or that big business and their lobbyist have made this subject taboo. Maybe they just don't care about America or the planet on which we live.

Generally, Americans are a spoiled breed. The fact is a lot could be done at little cost. For example, it seems almost absurd that some Americans think the thermostat should be set at 68 degrees during the summer and 76 degrees during the winter, this is completely backward to what logic would dictate. By simply mandating lower heating and higher cooling settings in government offices and buildings would give the private sector the cover they need to adjust their thermostats accordingly in both offices and stores. Also, when it comes to transportation, a simple yearly fee on inefficient vehicles paid to the states when licenses are renewed would accomplish much in getting Americans to shed their gas guzzlers which would move America to a more fuel-efficient fleet. Halting the manufacturing of the low-end furnaces that are still being installed in many new homes, upgrading thermostats and phasing out the sale of light fixtures and appliances that fail to make good use of our remaining resources are just a few ideas.

We Should Pay Far More For Dumb Choices
Each school day millions of buses hit the road across America transporting children to schools across town and past the schools near their home. Every Saturday a massive fleet of vehicles leave post offices across the land to deliver mail that most Americans do not feel is important. The cost of policies like these go far beyond the cost of money being poorly spent, they take a toll on our planet. We need politicians who care about the hidden cost of short-term policy and have the courage to focus on long-term planning and sustainability. It is time voters demand politicians put this priority before their desire to serve big business and the lobbyist that shower Washington with money.

Over the last several years I have had reason to enter many large buildings and offices in the evenings or during weekends. It is truly amazing that on cold winters nights, weekends, and over holidays thermostats are not set-back. Yes all over America we heat empty buildings as though they are occupied. A fair number of computers and lights that are often left on long after everyone is gone for the day, it seems people don't care enough to make the slightest effort to turn down the heat or turn off a light. This is an awareness and an attitude problem and clearly, without a gentle nudge to conserve, Americans will continue to damage the environment and add to climate change.

Millions of homes across America still lack proper insulation or do not have programmable thermostats and these are often inhabited by those least able to pay large utility bills. Ironically public policy centers around giving these people more money to help pay their energy bills rather than helping them reduce the energy that is being wasted. We also see government mandates and rules related to the American Disability Act making buildings obsolete far before their time when the focus should be on improving their efficiency and extending their useful life. We cannot afford to continue removing and replacing buildings after only a few decades. A sensible way to create jobs and save many of these homes would be to back programs geared to making them more energy efficient.

Solid Waste & Landfill Facts

The U.S. Is The #1 Trash-Producing Country
  • About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material!
  • Every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage that can be composted.
  • The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste.

It is important to note that regardless of what many people think, innovation does not always involve spending huge sums of money. Innovation often means simply thinking of new ways to get the job done. While it could be argued that cutting back on waste would lower the GDP it would have many positive benefits such as improving our standing in the world community. As we conserve, pollution is reduced, America's economy will be strengthened by reducing the importation of energy, new jobs will be generated by the industries that address these needs, and damage to the climate from global warming lessened. Why are politicians so willing and eager to ask America's sons and daughters to risk life and limbs in foreign wars while unwilling to ask Americans to make such a minor sacrifice?

 E-mail this blog post to a friend

Footnote; The article below explores our failure to deal with the issue of E-waste.

No comments:

Post a Comment