Saturday, February 13, 2021

The Dreadful "C" Word - Conserve!

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. The reason for pointing this out is rooted in a very ugly weather forecast through the 20th of February. The current weather models suggest a polar vortex will continue pouring Arctic air into much of the central US which has caused natural gas prices to soar along with electricity demand. The sad fact is many Americans will respond by cranking up their thermostats while they watch Netflix shows or use energy to mine Bitcoin.  

His Thermostat At Home Is Set At?

Because of my business, over the last several years I have had reason to enter many large buildings and offices in the evenings or during weekends. Amazingly, on cold winters nights, weekends, and over holidays thermostats on many of these buildings are not set-back and these buildings are a toasty seventy degrees. Yes all over America we heat empty buildings as though they are occupied. Also, a fair number of computers and lights are often left on long after everyone is gone for the day, it seems many 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, without a gentle nudge to conserve, Americans will continue to damage the environment and add to climate change. Generally, Americans are a spoiled breed. The fact is a lot of energy could be saved at little or no 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. 

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. 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 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 homes. 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.

Needless to say, 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?

 

 (Republishing of this article welcomed with reference to Bruce Wilds/AdvancingTime Blog)

3 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you regarding conservation. Unfortunately, the climate change agenda is not really about the environment or saving the planet. Instead, it is actually about money, power, and control. Governments need an excuse to tax more, and what better excuse than an existential threat? Then there are those who want to shut down industry and make as many people as they can dependent on them for everything so that they can have absolute control over those people, and of course their votes. Lastly there are those who are true believers who will go to any lengths to stop climate change and save the planet. I am dismayed at how many young people have been completely brainwashed into believing the global warming/climate change hyperbole and hysteria. Although we do need to gradually transition away from our total dependence on fossil fuels, and we do need to conserve resources better, I hope that people come to realize that there is no climate emergency, that the world will not end in 12 years, and that giving govts. more of your money and allowing them to have more power will not solve the climate crisis even if there were one.

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  2. Your comment about Americans being a spoiled (and selfish) breed barely covers it. It seems clear to me that we are also devolving and becoming an increasingly dumb breed (see latest election and anti-vaxxers.) Sadly, the modern American economy (all modern economies?) cannot function with conservation - there is no apparent financial incentive to it as an individual or economy. In fact, any reduction in consumption is like a dagger in the heart of our very fragile economy (see thousands of "good companies" go out of business after a few weeks because they can't and don't have any savings - including, apparently airlines!) Regarding climate change, either it is happening or it isn't. I happen to think it is and it's getting worse. If it is then we need to do something now and it will NOT be free. If it's not then all we gain is a more efficient society. Good post, Bruce, falling on deaf ears but good nonetheless.

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  3. I ran across an interesting and informative Youtube video on the environment that gives information on both sides of the, "is there a crisis?" question.
    This is the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDFnWjC206E

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