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Let's play "Who's Got the Lowest Power Bill"

Posted by jtaylor at Oct 28, 2009 12:15 PM |

From the Climate Action Blog: YES! Magazine's fulfillment assistant Jackie Taylor makes saving the planet her favorite game.

  1. I no longer buy commercial beef, since according to Michael Pollan it takes approximately 1/3 gallon of oil per pound, between the petrochemical fertilizers for their corn feed, and the transport required in the industrial food chain (not to mention 2,500 gallons of water, 35 pounds of topsoil, and 12 pounds of grain that could be used more wisely).  If I do buy beef, it is local, organic, and ideally grass-fed. It's so much better tasting and healthier, and I'm supporting the local economy as well as promoting a more sustainable farming method.
  2. Recently my parents were trying to decide between two potential new cars: a gas-guzzling SUV and a Prius. I gave them a BIG vote for the Prius based on the simple economics of it—gas prices are only going up from here, and the resale value of the Prius is outstanding. If I had taken a high moral ground about the "right thing to do" they may not have listened. It's important to understand what your audience is receptive to and not try to guilt people into doing more sensible things for our environment. They bought the Prius, which may have had nothing to do with what I said, but hey, I feel good about it anyway.
  3. I do everything I can to conserve resources. It's become a bit of a game for me to not buy unnecessary things, to generate teeny amounts of garbage every week (the garbage guys must laugh at my little bag), to see how low I can get my power bill (my record thus far is $15), and to drive minimally. I still drive more than I want to, but I always try to consolidate trips and not make a special trip to a store unless I have to. I tell my family and friends about this game and find that many of them are thinking this way too. It's great that it's becoming quite fashionable to be frugal with resources. But don't get me wrong, I still live very well by anyone's standards.
  4. A few years back, there was a small blurb in YES! Magazine talking about how Australia is banning the sale of incandescent light bulbs in the next few years. I had been buying the wrong ones (that yukky blue light) and then discovered that they come in light temperatures that are nearly identical to incandescents. I have since replaced almost every bulb in my house with compact flourescents since the power consumption is so low and they last for 10 years. (No wonder we haven't banned incandescents yet—there are companies that have a vested interest in our continuing to replace them all the time!) I wonder what my power bill will be this month—currently I am running at about $20.
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