Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

I’ve been doing some research into just how hard it would be to shut down our coal fired electric plants. We all seem to believe at some

level that it would be really, really hard. We’d have to deny ourselves every luxury and go back to living in a cold, soot filled cabin without running water. So I started a project, asked for some help with the math, and here is what I have come up with so far.
To shut down our local coal fired plant, which is of average size, every man, woman and child in the US would have to do the equivalent of turning off a 100 watt bulb for 15 minutes, every day. Really? That’s all? That is incredibly doable. This house is going to do more than it’s share starting today. I’m turning off the light we leave on in the bathroom overnight, and plugging in a nightlight that turns off by itself during the day. Even during the summer when that light is only on for about 6 hours a day, that is 8 times what is required. Easy-Peasey. I’d turn it off entirely, but I’m breaking the family in gently. 

Let’s see what we can do to cut down our usage considerably. These are just household usages. These are suggestions, obviously if you have a physical handicap, or some other real reason to need a device – use it. This list is to get myself, my family, and hopefully you, to think….

Don’t use Electric – (some easier than others)
Can opener
Hair dryer
Alarm Clock – (does everyone really need their own clock radio, that sits there with it’s red eye gleaming, 24 hours a day, when you’re asleep and when you are gone? Isn’t that just because we are too lazy to take the responsibility to wind an old fashioned alarm clock? In my house I am awake before everyone else because the traffic wakes me. Couldn’t I just wake everyone else? Does anyone really get more rested from hitting the snooze button every 5-10 minutes?)
Use More Wisely
Anything that uses power.
Does the TV need to be on to provide background noise for your life? Isn’t there more than enough noise in this world? Would playing a radio use less electricity? Do you turn them off when you leave the room, or the house? Couldn’t we all stand to limit our use?

Turn off the lights when you leave the room. It really ticks me off to go around the house when everyone has left and turn off all the lights that were left on. Annoys me even more to hobble downstairs in the middle of the night cause folks went to bed and left the lights on. Think first before turning them on – do you need this light for what you are doing?

The refrigerator. Keep it full. Think before opening the door.

Get your head out of your computer. Read a book, do a puzzle, go for a walk, converse with your family, play a game.

Don’t use hot water if cold is sufficient. Use less hot water. Take shorter showers/baths.


Beware of  Vampires
Anything with a clock on it draws power even when not in use, and it seems EVERYTHING has a clock. The coffee maker, the microwave, the stove. Use a power strip and completely turn off these appliances when not in use. Same goes for your TV and computers.

Conversations heard in my house recently:
“Grandma – did you unplug the TV!?!”
“Mom – why doesn’t the clock work on the microwave anymore?” “I think your Grandmother is unplugging it.”
“Did you unplug my computer?”
“Oh frick, I forgot to plug the printer back in.”

Somewhat More Extreme
Get a solar charger for your cell phone and other electronics.
Drink water. Much of the room in our fridges is used keeping beverages cold. Do we really need all that soda, beer, juice? Do we need to drink it cold? Think of how many less times you would open the fridge door if you weren’t going after a cold one.
Eat more raw foods.
To the best of your ability, make it so when you are sleeping, or gone from your house, there is no power being used. Turn down the heat/ac. Turn off the lights, computers, radios. The only things that should be running are the fridge, and minimal heat.
The great thing about this environmentalism is that it actually saves us money as we save our air, water, mountains. No fancy gadgets to buy. Just use less.

By AFarmer

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Ken Carman
12 years ago

I have solar at camp now. Alternate energy is doable. Maybe not to rely on… yet. But it certainly would help if we started to invest and encourage science and business to head in the direction of renewable power sources. And stop listen to those who say, “Oh, that’s so FAR in the future…” which is EXACTLY where it will stay with that attitude.

Another method that might help is switching to LEDs. They’re getting really good. I’m getting some for the place in The Station. Power draw is so minimal in comparison. The guy who now owns the Hotel has that as part of his business, and he’s got the bloody place lit up like Christmas for, he says, less that a tenth of the power before when it was dimly lit.

Ken Carman
12 years ago

There is no such thing as “clean coal.” Coal’s a BAD idea when there are better ones that don’t bury folks alive, give them respiratory problems or destroy mountain tops.

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