Money saved by using energy-efficient appliances is often used to buy additional appliances and vehicles, resulting in an even greater use of energy. Respondents to my survey overwhelmingly said that the solution to this problem is generous rebates and incentives for the purchase of hybrid cars and renewable energy systems. And, of the choices listed in the survey, I agree that this was the best one. Some respondents selected “Other”, suggesting that they have even better ideas. I hope those folks will submit comments to this post, telling us what those ideas are. It seems that almost no one wants laws or penalties, but some of us favor higher taxes for those who consume the most.
Tax incentives are great, but that choice is in the hands of politicians. Rebates will help to sell more energy-efficient cars, but that decision is in the hands of auto makers. There’s an even better solution than those listed; each of us can lead by example. And while only a few of us are ready to install windmills or solar panels, every one of us can contribute in some way. The important thing is to just do something. If you do, someone will notice. If millions of people will install just one compact fluorescent bulb, the benefit to the planet will be tremendous. The best solution is for each us to lead by example.
When the people lead, leaders follow
Hopefully we’ll all do more than to just replace light bulbs. When appliances wear out, replace them with energy-efficient ones. Don’t wait for legislation, and don’t wait for your neighbor to lead the way. Start a movement to save the planet and to preserve natural resources for future generations. Global warming, air and water pollution, and peak oil are all problems that won’t go away without action. Don’t wait for solutions, create them. It’s a good feeling to do the right thing.
Once you’ve made a commitment to do your part, you might begin with an energy audit. You can call a professional, but that’s usually not necessary. You probably already know what needs to be done in your own home. If your list is long, attend to the easiest and less costly improvements first, or as Ed Begley Jr. puts it, the “low hanging fruit.”