Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth day 2011 - I burn all three

I freely confess I don't know the history here; is Earth Day always on Good Friday? Seems like it would violate some part of the lib'rul ten Categorical Imperatives (apologies to Kant), like separation of the hated organized religion (as opposed to the disorganized Uni- Uni-'s) from all that is good and sweet in the world. But hey, if we have to celebrate the death of a messiah, might as well celebrate the planet too.

Of course environmentalism has changed somewhat since 1970, when the emphasis was (as I understand it) on pollution, and perhaps somewhat on recycling. Now the deleterious effects of greenhouse gases on the climate have pushed environmentalism towards reducing energy use (to avoid producing those gases by burning fossil fuels). The funny thing about that is that energy use reduction through more efficiency is something that an economist ought to be able to wrap his/her head around. If Compact Fluorescent's use few watts to provide the same light, and last much longer, they save the user a fair bit of money. If hybrids drive much like a regular car, but use half as much gas, they will save you money (eventually). So being a thoughtful consumer of energy means you have more money for other things. Yet environmentalism has successfully been tied to sacrifice (or at least discomfort) by the Republicans. So many people are losing out by not buying into conservation.

I myself burn natural gas to heat my apartment and the water I use, coal (probably) for electricity and oil (gasoline) to get places. My natural gas use will drop to nothing for the summer (the building pays for the hot water heater and the stove's gas). I am already using all CFL's (except for two LED lamps and an incandescent in the fridge), although there is probably more I could do to reduce my electricity usage. As for driving, I drive a hybrid, but I have been driving to work recently. I would like to start taking the bus where possible, and riding a bike when I can otherwise. Perhaps I will share the outcome of these resolutions here. What do you do to reduce?

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