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Journey to Energy Independence

Conservation and Energy Independence

There is no cheaper, cleaner source of energy than energy you do not have to produce.

Conservation vs. Efficiency
an Allegory

Picture in your mind’s eye a man who needs one bucket of water each day for his family’s needs. See the man walking each day to a public fountain, or well, located at the center of town. The man fills his bucket with water drawn from the public well. But, the man’s bucket has small holes in the bottom, and so by the time the man arrives back home, the bucket is only 25% full. Three fourths of the water leaked out on the way home. So the man walks back to the public well and draws another bucket of water and returns home only to discover that the bucket is again only 25% full. The man has made two trips to the public well and his family has only one half of a bucket of water to show for his effort. The man repeats his walk to the center of town two more times, for a total of four trips to the public well and back, and now he has a full bucket of water at his home for his family to use.

The man’s bucket leaked a total of three buckets of water onto the ground while walking back from the public well four times.

Now imagine that the town is experiencing a drought and all citizens are asked to CONSERVE water. The town’s conservation plan limits each family to two trips to the public well each day, for a total of two buckets of water (one bucket each trip).

Because the man’s bucket leaks so badly, his two trips to the public well only yield one half bucket of water for his family. This is because one and one half buckets of water will be leaked onto the ground during the two return trips from the well.

The man is so distraught that he refuses to walk to the well, feeling that it is not worth the effort. The wife, wanting to keep the family going asks her teenage son to please make the two trips to the well. The son happily agrees to help his family, but before he goes, he carefully examines the bucket and sees the tiny holes in the bottom. The son cleverly devises a plan. He plugs the holes with superglue. The son then walks to the public well where he gets a full bucket of water and returns proudly home without losing a single drop of water.

Because the bucket did not leak, the son only had to make one trip to the well to bring his family a full bucket of water. In that one trip, the son brought home twice the amount of water the father would have brought home using the bucket with holes in the bottom and making two trips to the well.

Conservation is not the same as efficiency

Energy efficiency means to do more with less. Conservation means to use less, usually by doing less.

Efficiency is achieved by improving technology so less energy is required to get the same or better results. A refrigerator that keeps your food cold with less energy or an automobile that gets better gas mileage without reducing power or performance are examples of advances in efficiency.

Conservation focuses on eliminating or reducing waste and unnecessary redundancy, such as two trips to the store when one trip should have been enough. Car pooling is another example of reducing waste: eliminating the need for two cars when one would be enough. Efforts to reduce waste often result in improving efficiency, so the two concepts can and do overlap.

Waste Recycling

How many barrels of oil are dumped into landfills every day in the form of disposable plastic bottles, containers and packaging? One million barrels of oil per day in the USA? Worldwide?

Stop using disposable plastics and start mimicking Nature's recycling system—demand biodegradable containers for your groceries, snacks and drinks.

“At 1,900 times the cost, consumers should expect better.”
Jane Houlihan, an environmental engineer, after tests revealed that leading brands of bottled water turned up a variety of contaminants, including caffeine, fertilizer and the pain reliever acetaminophen, often found in tap water

Money is not the only measure of the price we pay for the things we consume. Our waste and over-consumption borrows from the future. When will the price become so high that people will want to apply the “penny saved is a penny earned” principle, and stop wasting so much?

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

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