From time to time, when people talk about the oil crisis we face, and the need for a viable alternative energy resource, the idea is put forth that all we have to do is go at it as we did putting a man on the moon. We did that in less than a decade, so why not this?
Here’s why not: There aren’t too many blank spots left on the periodic table of the elements. We’ve found all the obvious stuff here on earth, and these days, if some scientist does manage to find something new to add, it’s invariably something like “garbanzobeanium” and it’s really rare. There’s simply nothing left to discover around here that will do all for us that oil has done for us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t all work together to solve the problem. There is a solution, you just won’t like it. Oh, and the US space program is pretty much wrapped up, too. Time to move on.
I must have been out the day “conservation” became a dirty word in America. It became un-American, and maybe just a little bit pink-o. Too bad, ‘cause that’s what’s gonna save us. The big “Moon Landing/Manhattan Project” response to the oil crisis is for us to go after conservation like there’s no tomorrow. Because if we don’t, there isn’t.
Since we do so very little conservation here in America right now, this is a wide open field of possibilities. We are such energy pigs. Where to begin? At home, we need to set goals for energy and resource consumption. What if we said everyone had to limit their home energy use to 5 kwh a day and 750 gallons of water a month, per person? First off, you’d have to figure out how much you are using now to see how little that is. But could you do it? Could you use that little? That ain’t much, but it’s also what the Lovely JoAnn and I use together in our house, so it can be done. I dare you to even take the time to figure out what you use at home, either per person or in total. You will be amazed.
We drive about 10,000 miles a year, and yes, we could reduce that, if and when we have to. We are not extravagant drivers, and again, that figure is for both of us together - about 5,000 miles per person per year. Put like that, it ain’t so bad. But what about you? There’s no doubt that the oil crisis will hit our driving habits hard - and first. How much could you conserve there? Time to start looking.
Of course, for any national conservation effort to work, the public has to be given a very good reason to make the sacrifice. It has to be a sort of Patriotic War Effort thing, and there are far too few people left around here who remember the last one. Still, we did it then, and we can do it again - if we are shown that we have to. I’ve always said that Americans are lousy about planning ahead, but great when it comes to responding to a crisis. And this will be all that.
So maybe now’s the time to buck the trend and look at your life in terms of future conservation potential. How much could you save, how much less would you need to use, if you absolutely had to? Eventually you will, National Conservation Effort or not. Conservation needs to be our next Big Thing.
read more: Conservation: the next big thing!