I opened a newsletter not long ago from the Woods Hole Research Center, that said that we can’t avoid the worst of this climate crisis without “societal cooperation.” That means us.

We may be busy hoping for a spectacular appropriate technology to save the planet but those thoughts can distract us from asking ourselves how we can help. There are already remarkable feats in appropriate technology: electric ferries carry 30 cars and 200 people, electric airplanes carry nine people 620 miles on one charge, world’s largest batteries that have the capacity to make solar energy cheaper than ever. Scotland’s new wind turbines are capable of generating energy to power two Scotlands. Vineyard Wind Connector could add enough power to the Massachusetts grid to power 400,000 homes. We’ve seen the development of LED lighting that has plummeted in price and uses only one-sixth of the energy of conventional lighting. Yet these remarkable technologies still need to be supplemented by the most effective means of reducing carbon… energy efficiency and that means us. “How can we save energy?” is the question. Societal cooperation is the likely answer.

Heat-trapping gases have been accumulating in the atmosphere for decades and decades. We aren’t going to fix this crisis by “changing light bulbs” but we should change them nonetheless because we need to give the Earth doctors some time to find a cure for global warming. What we do to avoid the worst of this climate crisis has the added benefit of reducing local pollution. Who needs to spend their lives coughing and sneezing, or losing their lives to cancer? Change the light bulbs—try not to leave them on willy nilly and don’t leave your computer on. Monitor your energy use. Get a smart thermostat and see what else Cape Light Compact or Mass Save has to offer.

Open space in a freezer is space your freezer keeps trying to chill. Refrigeration is an energy hog and is expensive so I try to fill the freezer with something even if its just bottles of water.

I asked the US Department of Energy and Resources of Canada how to reduce my gas consumption in my car. They said drive evenly, don’t lurch about, don’t tailgate, use AC on the highway with air recirculation on and try not to use AC in the city. Check your tire pressure monthly and clean out the vehicle of unnecessary weight. No roof racks unless they are on the back. When appropriate, use the cruise control and don’t go over the speed limit (optimum speed is 55 MPH but not a good idea if everyone around you is going 70). Don’t keep topping off your gas tank. Let it get down to a quarter full so you can enjoy the lack of weight.

If you have a 20 MPG vehicle, consider buying a vehicle that has 30 MPG and save $700 annually in fuel. Buy the most efficient car you can afford. Hopefully, the newer car will save on repairs, too. All energy efficient practices and products save money.

If you’re invested in fossil fuels… divest. If you’re like me, in a state of bad energy habits, admit you are addicted. You aren’t alone. Look for the light at the end of the tunnel…hopefully it’s an LED.

Jan Kubiac


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