Time Magazine’s Michael Grunwald: the answer to America’s Energy Needs

Via on Jan 25, 2009

December 31, 2008. As the old year was setting and the year of Obama was about to begin, Michael Grunwald wrote about a revolutionary idea to change energy usage as we know it. But this is not straight off the press, this is not as revolutionary as one might think. It’s energy efficiency and its been whispering in the back alley’s of the world for years. Grunwald writes:

This may sound too good to be true, but the U.S. has a renewable-energy resource that is perfectly clean, remarkably cheap, surprisingly abundant and immediately available. It has astounding potential to reduce the carbon emissions that threaten our planet, the dependence on foreign oil that threatens our security and the energy costs that threaten our wallets. Unlike coal and petroleum, it doesn’t pollute; unlike solar and wind, it doesn’t depend on the weather; unlike ethanol, it doesn’t accelerate deforestation or inflate food prices; unlike nuclear plants, it doesn’t raise uncomfortable questions about meltdowns or terrorist attacks or radioactive-waste storage, and it doesn’t take a decade to build. It isn’t what-if like hydrogen, clean coal and tidal power; it’s already proven to be workable, scalable and cost-effective. And we don’t need to import it.

This miracle juice goes by the distinctly boring name of energy efficiency, and it’s often ignored in the hubbub over alternative fuels, the nuclear renaissance, T. Boone Pickens and the green-tech economy. Clearly, it needs an agent. But it’s a simple concept: wasting less energy. Or more precisely, consuming less energy to get the same amount of heat for your shower, light for your office and power for your factory. It turns out to be much less expensive, destructive and time-intensive to reduce demand through efficiency than to increase supply through new drilling or new power plants. A nationwide push to save “negawatts” instead of building more megawatts could help reverse our unsustainable increases in energy-hogging and carbon-spewing while creating a slew of jobs and saving a load of cash. more…

Technology is on the consciousness collective because there is little effort or desire to change personal behavior. I have fantisized while walking down Broadway, amidst the bull-rush of cars, of stepping like some mad street preacher with his cardboard cut-out into the middle of traffic, to scream in futile protest. But we love our cars in this country, they define us. As does our “right” to endless electricity, our “right” to the American dream, our golden Buddhas and ornamented mansions. Luxuries to produce greater emptiness and suffering, dreams as pointless and transient as a sliver of ice in the desert. Rather than building more houses, let’s build communities. Make simplicity our ideal and highest aspiration. Turn the American dream from what can I have to what can I give.

About Henry Schliff

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One Response to “Time Magazine’s Michael Grunwald: the answer to America’s Energy Needs”

  1. Gary Klinga says:

    Mr.Grunwald,
    Your piece on energy efficiency hit the target but you omitted an important way to waste less: STOP IDLING YOUR CAR!!! Much like other writers on the subject, you have failed to bring to light one of the worst contributors to wasting a non-renewable energy resource but also one of the biggest contributors to pollution and greenhouse gases. Imagine over 250 million cars idling an average of 5-10 minutes every day,across the U.S.,spewing out tons of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other toxic gases and particulates. Reflect on the magnitude of this phenomenon. I have written a short and highly researched piece on idling, “American Idle,” that has been published in northern Michigan newspapers and websites. PLEASE TAKE 5 MINUTES TO READ IT!!!
    I guarantee you will be forever enlightened and realize that reducing idling is a very easy thing to do. It is urgent to educate car owners of the need to change their behavior. We say we want to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, but we continue to idle our cars as if it was a birthright and there is no environmental or health impact. Idling gets 0 mpg and consumes more gas than when car is moving. And idling damages the engine and does NOT warm up the car. Go to the Canadian government’s site and type in “idling myth” or go http://www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/communities-government/transportation/municipal-communities/articles/idling-myths.cfm?attr=16
    Can you give me an address that I could mail the article to you Or I could send it electronically to you mailbox online.
    Gary Klinga, Editor and Writer/gary_klinga@yahoo.com.
    Rest Assured Editing, Traverse City, MI

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