Saturday, January 27, 2007

Not so Inconvenient...

I finally saw Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth yesterday. I'll admit that I was not looking forward to it. A movie with Al Gore doing all the talking? What could be more boring!

I was pleasantly surprised. It was really well done. According to my father's science-community friends, it is pretty accurate too. There is some question as to whether warmer ocean temperatures increase the strength of hurricanes, but otherwise, the science is there and backs up everything in the movie.

I've seen and heard people argue passionately about whether global warming exists. My first thought is that whether global warming exists or not, there is nothing wrong with conserving resources. If it doesn't exist, you've saved yourself some money by using more efficient light bulbs, walking or using mass transit (or carpooling), and insulating your house. If it does exist, you've saved yourself some money, and done a small part to help keep our planet healthy. It's way too easy to blow off the idea of recycling or doing anything else that might seem "crazy, liberal, hippie, sierra club"-ish. I believe that we were created by a loving Heavenly Father, and that he placed us on earth and asked us to be good stewards to the things we have, so why do we go around driving SUV's when no one else is in the car? Why do we need to fill two huge cans with garbage every week? Why do we waste so much, and then make fun of people who are trying to be good stewards?

Between this movie and the current inversion we are suffering through, I'm really interested in learning more about what I can do. I hate that I can't let my kids play outside because the air is so disgusting. I don't even want to walk to pick up my son from school because I don't want to be outside any longer than I have to. We all have sore, tired eyes. We all feel a little more congested than normal. I blame the air.

Back to the movie, the title is interesting to me, because no one is asking anything terribly inconvenient of anyone. No one is suggesting we go live in a tree somewhere. The suggestions for improving carbon dioxide emissions are mostly small things that any of us can do without much trouble.

This website has the following list of suggestions, for more information on each suggestion and links go to the website.

What can I do?
Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl)
Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer
Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner
Install a programmable thermostat
Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases
Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket
Use less hot water
Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible
Turn off electronic devices you’re not using
Unplug electronics from the wall when you’re not using them
Only run your dishwasher when there’s a full load and use the energy-saving setting
Insulate and weatherize your home
Be sure you’re recycling at home
Buy recycled paper products
Plant a tree
Get a home energy audit
Switch to green power
Buy locally grown and produced foods
Buy fresh foods instead of frozen
Seek out and support local farmers markets
Buy organic foods as much as possible
Avoid heavily packaged products
Eat less meat
Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible
Start a carpool with your coworkers or classmates
Keep your car tuned up
Check your tires weekly to make sure they’re properly inflated
When it is time for a new car, choose a more fuel efficient vehicle
Try telecommuting from home

Many of these things are things that my family is already doing, and most of them are things that are also money savers.

Save some money, take care of the earth, help improve air quality.

Someday, if my Mr. and I ever get to build a house, we'd like to include a solar panel, so I've been reading about solar panels and discovered that Rocky Mountain Power has a net metering system, where any power you create off the grid, is used first, reducing demand during peak usage times, and reducing your power bill. Any power you generate that you don't use is sold back to the power company. It's a good deal for everyone! Solar panels are not cheap, so it will have to wait until it can be bundled into the cost of building a new home.

In the meantime, I've signed up for one block of wind generated power from Rocky Mountain Power. The more demand for renewable power, the less it will cost. One block is equal to 100 kwh and adds $1.95 to your monthly power bill. I'll increase the amount we are purchasing in the future to cover all our power usage, but it's a start. You can find out more at theRocky Mountain Power website.

1 comment:

WP said...

Great post! NPR Science Friday has a good bit of information available in Podcasts on the topics of alternate energy sources and global warming. Included in recent programs were reports about a Dept of Energy report from Bush's own White House that said three states have enough wind energy to power the entire country. The states are Texas, Kansas and North Dakota. Also Ira Flato reported that upstate New York farmers are paid to have wind mills and are making more money generating power than raising cattle, (a source of green house gas). Another interesting idea is to couple your solar panels, on the new house, to your plug in hybrid vehicle. A number of folks in California have convereted their Toyota Prius vehicles to plug in versions and some are then recharging them from their solar panels. The payback for the panels is much sooner as the currency is then high priced gasoline.