Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step


May 18, 2008

Forget numbers: just make the next change that occurs to you

“The single most important thing we can do is …”. Drive less? Conserve? Change a light bulb? Eat vegetables? Invest in technology for new forms of energy? Cap and trade? Install solar panels? Gas tax holiday? Save the polar bear? Which one is best? Which has the biggest impact?

I say “none of the above”. The single biggest thing we can do is anything … now.

The change you do make is the one that has actual value. The ones you don’t make are just vapor.

Insulating an uninsulated house might be the single biggest change many people in my neck of the woods can make. But it’s not sexy. It’s disruptive. It costs money.

Changing your diet from meat and processed foods to vegetables could make a huge difference. Not only is it a big environmental win, it’s better for your health.

Replacing all your light bulbs with compact fluorescent, and upgrading to Energy Star appliances would be significant for most households.

But, taken as a whole, these are all big things — big changes with, honestly, not much personal benefit other than the warm and fuzzy feeling of having done the right thing. Further, they all require us to do the single thing we hate more than anything: change.

The bigger the change, the less likely we are to make it. Sorry, it’s human nature.

Seal a draft
So instead of insulating your house, get a tube of caulking or expanding foam and seal a crack next time you feel a draft.

Replace one bulb with a CFL.

Not MeatDecide that one day every other week is going to be no-meat day.

Ride your bike to work the next day it looks really nice out. Read you electricity bill.

Reusable grocery bag

Make one small change. Right now.

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