There is no question that we as Americans use a lot of nonrenewable resources. We use electricity that is made by the burning of fossil fuels, mainly coal. We fly in jets that burn aviation fuel, fuel that is refined from petroleum oil. We drive in automobiles that operate on gasoline engines, gasoline refined from petroleum oil. We purchase items that are transported across the seas and overland by burning more and more fuel. Many of the items that we purchase are made of petroleum by-products, such as plastics, lubricants, even clothing.
We, as a nation, need to cut back on the amount of these nonrenewable resources we are using. We are harming the environment by the mining of the coal that we use, by the drilling of the oil necessary to sustain our addiction, by the simple transportation of these products. We harm the environment every time a strip mining company cuts the top off a mountain to get at more coal. Every time an oil rig fails and dumps millions of barrels of oil into our oceans and upon our shores. Every time a tanker spills their cargo into our seas. It isn’t their problem, it’s our problem.
We can head in the right direction and consume less nonrenewable resources as a nation, if we act as individuals and take a few simple measures to reduce our consumption.
- We can use less gasoline. We can just drive less. We can use more fuel efficient cars. We can car pool, or bike or walk to work. We can tele-commute to work. We can plan our trips better so we are more efficient when running errands.
- We can use less electricity. We can shut off lights when not being used. We can switch to more energy efficient light bulbs. We can adjust our thermostats so they don’t use so much electricity: set them just a degree or two higher. If every one did this throughout the country, the combined savings would be astronomical. We can use our laundry machines and dishwashers less. Combine loads. Take less or shorter hot showers. The list is endless of how we can use less electricity.
- We can use more renewable energy sources. Sources like wind power, solar power, hydro-electric power, even wood can all be used to light and cool and clean and heat our homes. We can insist that the companies that we buy electricity from create some, most or all of their energy from renewable fuel sources. We can demand that they investigate and construct wind farms. We can demand that they provide us a green energy option.
- We can become electric self sufficient by converting our homes to wind power or solar power by installing wind turbine electrical generator systems or solar panel electrical generating systems. These conversions can be performed at a cost that will pay for itself in a few years time based on the amount of electricity that need not be purchased after the conversion is installed. Much of the conversion process can be done in a do-it-yourself fashion, saving expense.