Earth Day 2007On today, Earth Day, we are reminded to consider how important, how precious, how unique, how irreplaceable the place we all live actually is. We are also reminded how our reckless behavior is impacting Planet Earth — and the single most direct and harmful impact we humans have had on our planet is through how we use energy.
Our population keeps growing and growing, and all of those new people consume more and more energy. We do generate some of our energy from renewable sources — wind, wave, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass — but the vast majority of all of the energy we consume is generated by burning fossil fuels. (Nuclear power is a special case.) Burning fossil fuels, of course, produces greenhouse gases, which, in the quantities that we humans are currently producing them, will lead to massive climate change.
And when we look around Planet Earth, who is it that is using the most energy per capita? Actually, it's not the USA, as you might guess — Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, and Iceland all use much more energy per capita than we do. The difference, however, is that all of those countries have tiny populations but the USA — the USA has 300 million eager energy consumers. The USA uses more energy than any other country in the world and, as a consequence, enjoys the highest standard of living in the world.
We here in the USA find ourselves in the unusual position of telling the rest of the world to limit their energy usage and reduce their carbon emissions — while we are the worst offenders. The rest of world wants to enjoy the same luxurious standard of living that the USA has — I wonder if we could all enjoy that same standard of living without using so much energy?
The earth is like a spaceship that didn't come with an operating manual.
Welcome to Energy WatcherAmericans in general are terribly wasteful. I should know — I am an American, after all. I spend an absoluate fortune on electricity, natural gas, water, and gasoline — and I can see the prices of these commodities inching higher month by month. Like most Americans, I really don't want to lower my standard of living, but I really cannot afford to keep living the way I have been.
It occurs to me that if we all just used a little less, or even just tried to ensure that we got full value for our money, we would all use a lot less energy, save massive amounts of money, stop exporting our nation's wealth overseas, and maybe, just maybe, slow down climate warming long enough for the scientists to figure out a solution.
I've done a lot of research and it is possible to drastically reduce your carbon footprint without any real sacrifice. It's not that hard, it doesn't take that long, and it doesn't cost that much money — and if we do it right, it is possible to save real money while helping protect our planet.
All you have to do is pay attention.
Isn't it smarter to make small, effective, inexpensive, incremental changes now, while we can — and hopefully avoid having to make the huge, expensive, wrenching changes later, when it's too late?
So this is what I'm going to do is pay attention — and write about what happens here in this blog. I will start making these changes in my life, at my house, with my family, and we will all see what happens. I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is John Westenhaver and I play around with computers for a living. Although I am not an expert in energy matters, I have been working near the energy management field for most of my career. I work from an office in my suburban home that I share with my wife and three daughters.
The Energy Watcher MissionOur mission here at Energy Watcher is to identify, day after day, what we can all do together to save on energy costs and, at the same time, do something useful for our planet. I have made myself a promise that I will make at least one post to this blog each week, and I will try to make posts more often. I welcome input from everyone, as comments or as posts if you have something you want to contribute. My email address can be found at the bottom of every post, including this one.
We can do without. Or we can do less with more. Or we can make small investments in our homes, our offices, and our schools to ensure that the energy we use is put to good use. You, too, can be an Energy Watcher!
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.