This guest post is another great response to the recent oil fire in the Gulf of Mexico, the horrible BP oil spill, the Massey Energy coal mining disaster earlier this year, and potential dirty energy disasters we may see in the future if we don’t take action now. The author, Brian F. Keane, is president of SmartPower, “the nation’s leading non-profit marketing organization dedicated to promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.“
By Brian F. Keane
Talk about déjà vu.
Thursday’s rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana wasn’t as devastating as the now-infamous Deepwater Horizon explosion in April. But these two disasters –- both a result of fossil fuel procurement, and both inextricably tied to our nation’s reliance on dirty, non-renewable energy –- are stark reminders that we’re not doing enough to kick our fossil fuel habit.
The homes that we live in today are many times more energy efficient than the homes our parents grew up in. But life inside today’s homes requires exponentially more energy. We keep buying computers, televisions, iPods, cell phones and e-readers –- and expect these things, not to mention the lights and air conditioning, to always be available at the touch of a button. From here on out, Americans’ energy demands will only grow. If nothing else, diversifying our national energy portfolio is a way to continue meeting that growing demand, long after the oil wells run dry and the coal mines go barren.
Most Americans don’t think about how much energy they use in a day, or make the connection between their personal energy use and the evening news. Watch any cable TV this summer? First there was the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia – which killed 29 miners – and then of course the epic BP oil spill, which claimed 11 lives and continues to wreak havoc on the Gulf region’s sensitive ecosystems. Our nation’s insatiable appetite for bigger cars, new electronic devices, and climate-controlled homes is a driver of the work that makes these disasters possible.
Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do about this – and becoming part of the solution is as simple as checking your email. Take advantage of free online tools like My Gulf Action, an intuitive carbon footprint calculator that’s working to offset the oil spilled into the Gulf this summer. The site shows you simple ways to reduce your daily energy consumption, whether it’s buying less bottled water or adjusting your thermostat by one degree. Once you’ve pledged to reduce your energy waste, you’ll see how your small actions combine with others to make a big difference.
We have a long ways to go before we can fully embrace what President Obama calls our “clean energy future.” It will take good policymaking and strong leadership at every level of American government. But there’s no excuse for ignoring the small, individual actions that each of us can take to reduce our daily energy consumption. Start being part of the solution today.
Photo Credit: Josh Liba via flickr