Letter: We need to reduce energy in our daily lives
I consider myself a fortunate one to have part of our garage available for parking my car. It’s so nice to be able to pull away from my house in these long, cold months without first needing to “de-weather” my car.
This hasn’t always been the case in the 40 years I’ve lived in the Yampa Valley, although my first season of 1980-81 could hardly have been called a “winter.” For years, I was out there with the rest of the scrapers. That was truly an uncomfortable chore and, man, was that car ever cold to climb into. Wait, you say, I barely need to scrape my windshield, and my car’s not cold?
If this is the case, you are denying the reality of where we live and what is needed of us to keep it going. On a local level, most of us would really like it to start snowing about now. We need the cold and snowy winters we’ve been blessed with for so many reasons. Those snowy slopes that feed our winter economy will fill our rivers, water our food and help fight the wildfires that also are, at least partly, the result of our bad habits.
Maybe we can get more moisture year-round and not have so many fires. Maybe we can go back to a less scary scenario and trend toward a cooler world climate again.
Well, it ain’t gonna happen unless we change our own personal ways and reduce the energy we use in our daily lives. It certainly won’t happen if the sale of drilling leases in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge gets rammed through before the next administration can halt it or if we allow billions of birds to become more vulnerable with the recent repeal of the Migratory Bird Act of 1918.
It’s easy these days to get information about large-scale environmental atrocities and to even take action by writing letters. You might even write a letter about ANWR right now, to: State Director BLM Alaska State Office, 222 W. 7th Ave., Mailstop 13, Anchorage, AK 99513-7504.
It’s maybe not as easy is to change those old habits and subject ourselves to the discomforts of our cold clime. But we got this, winter lovers. Tomorrow morning, please start up your car right when you go out to scrape it. That will take a few minutes. Since you are now wearing your heavy coat and gloves, your car won’t be too cold. Leaving a small blanket on your seat will help. Then drive away. Cars actually warm up more efficiently when they’re moving. And if you must “pre-start” your car, please remember you’ve done so and limit it to 5 to 7 minutes.
I learned a crazy fact awhile back that almost 25% of the energy used in transportation is in vehicles that are going nowhere! Traffic jams, food bank lines, drive-thus, the little errand that will take “just a minute.” Next time you run in to check the mail, stop for a quick chat, pick up your kids, make that “quick” purchase, stop at a railroad or construction site remember the 10 Second Rule for idling versus turning off and feel good about saving money and the environment by turning off your car. Things always take longer than you think.
We have got to stop burning fossil fuels. If not stop, at least stop wasting!
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