by Kristen Wright, Associate Editor
I try to conserve energy every day, whether we’re advised to or not. During Oklahoma’s hot, sticky summers, my family keeps all the curtains and blinds closed while we’re at work, and we program our thermostat to reach uncomfortable levels while we’re gone–sick days have proven this.
We program our energy-efficient dishwasher, washing machine and dryer to kick on around midnight, but we’re not on time-of-use rates. The kitchen refrigerator is Energy Star, but we commit the ultimate electricity industry sin: We have a rusty garage refrigerator that makes embarrassing visits to the driveway when the frost gets too big. All for one bottle of Dom PÃ©rignon given to us as a wedding gift and some liquor store beer within reach of my tool-toting, lawn-mowing or otherwise dirty husband.
Keeping our electric bill manageable is our main conservation driver, but I’d like my fellow Americans to have enough electricity to remain comfortable, too.
Forget the politics of conservation. Let’s stop pointing out who is green at all costs, who is not green enough, and who is just right because his or her green efforts mirror our own.
I know someone who doesn’t recycle, but not because it’s burdensome. He says he just doesn’t “believe in it.” Here’s something we all can believe in: American patriotism.
Retired Lt. Gen. Russel L. HonorÃ©, during his Electric Light & Power Executive Conference keynote in March, said that keeping the power on is one of our patriotic duties. It goes along with loving thy neighbor. Electricity saves the elderly, babies and the sick. It keeps us cool when it’s hot. And without it, the whole U.S. economy would melt. I don’t want to contribute to the demise of any fellow American.
Maybe energy conservation would appeal to more people if our industry routinely explained it in red, white and blue terms in lieu of green ones that turn off a segment of the population. There is only so much electricity capacity, and American lives depend on it.
If I were to pop open that bottle of Dom, would you join me in a toast to American patriotism? It would enable me to throw away an ugly, energy-inefficient fridge. I don’t believe in recycling them. Really.