The banner over the doorway reads, “Energy Over-Eaters Anonymous…All are Welcome.” He hesitantly finds a chair in the back; the speaker is giving a testimonial. Then it’s his turn.
“My name is America, and I’m an energy over-eater. As a super-power, it’s not surprising that I consume more energy than other nations. But something about my consumption habit just didn’t seem right, so I thought I’d better check my numbers. It wasn’t pretty.
“My fossil fuel habit has gotten out of control. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution I’ve accounted for over 27% of global carbon emissions. Here’s the embarrassing part; I have only 5% of the world’s population! Recently my pal, China, has surpassed my annual emissions. But she has 4 times my population. Per capita, I still emit twice as much as China does. I’m spending way too much on fossil fuel and not doing the environment any favors either.
“Addictions are hard to break, but I know I can do it because my countrymen are smart! Take the folks in southwest Wisconsin for example. They’re beginning to hear about a proposed huge new high capacity power line that would run right through their landscape. Funny thing is, my own U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that the demand for electrical power will grow by less than 1% annually. Instead of saddling our ratepayers to millions of dollars of infrastructure and maintenance costs, we could choose a better way. With a few smart conservation measures we’d eliminate that growth rate and use even less electricity than we currently do - no expensive power lines, no additional fuel costs, less pollution.
“It’s estimated that 2-4 cents/KWh invested in user conservation would eliminate the need for new natural gas electrical generation that costs 6-8 cents/KWh. Why pay more for power we wouldn’t need if we just use what we have more wisely? That 2-4 cents/KWh would help consumers install programmable thermostats, power strips to reduce ‘vampire’ loads, LED lighting, solar water heating and so on.”
“That’s why we hold these meetings,” interrupted the program director. “It’s not healthy being energy over-eaters. It costs too much and pollutes this world we need to care for. After all, this is the only home we’ll ever know. All nations are forever… Earthbound.”
(Learn more about the proposed power line expansion at Sustain Iowa County - 608-987-3835.)