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Monday, May 10, 2010

Why Bother Conserving?

Last week I shared that I rarely turn on lights in my home, preferring to do things in natural light, or even occasionally in the dark. That post got people riled up, as I knew it would. Conservation isn't utmost on the average Joe's mind. On the contrary, people think that someone like myself who takes frugal showers, grates food by hand instead of using a food processor, and cooks using the power of the sun is absurd and missing out on all the good stuff in life, and therefore must be living a completely miserable existence.
If people knew the value of conservation, perhaps they'd realize that conservation is not just drudgery and living a wanting life; conservation accomplishes many, many things.

Why Conserve?

Money

As this blog is dedicated to the ins and outs of money, I'll touch on this subject first.
Conservation saves money, period. Assuming that via conserving, you'd save one dollar a day. Over the course of the month, you'd be 30 dollars richer. Who doesn't want an extra 30 bucks? In a year you'll be 365 dollars richer, and over the course of your life (I'm guessing the average lifespan is around 75 years), you'll have saved $27,375. 27 and a half grand is no joking matter.
This is all assuming that you're only saving one dollar a day. I know that my dryer takes one and a half cycles to really dry clothes, and that each load costs me a dollar to run. Just line drying one load a day will save me 45 dollars a month, and 550 dollars a year. I've been known to wash as many as 4 or 5 loads in one day- that's already an extra $7.50 just for deciding to line dry one day!
I've only touched on one aspect so far, line drying. If you add up all the money saved by solar cooking instead of baking, making your fridge run more efficiently, line drying, using natural sunlight instead of light bulbs, turning off appliances when not in use, and conserving water in a variety of ways, you'll be saving hundreds a month, minimum; you can bet on that.

Not Enough to Go Around

Personal Accountability. Another reason to conserve is because sometimes there simply isn't enough to go around. Where I live, in the middle of the summer, we have frequent blackouts. Not because of storms knocking down power lines usually, but because all the AC units being run around the country suck the electric company's power dry, to the extent that there are blackouts, because there isn't enough supply to meet all the demand. Locally, there simply is not enough electricity to go around, to the extent that if you personally generate solar electricity, the electric company will buy your excess off of you to help meet the demand.
Others don't care that they're draining all the electricity to run their air conditioning. Because of these inconsiderate people, we, in more rural areas, get our power routed away so the penthouse suites can be refreshingly chilly in the dead of summer. Its because of my feelings of personal accountability that I try to do my share, however small, to not drain the electric company of their minimal electricity.
Droughts. My country doesn't get enough rainfall, and therefore water supplies are running out. The aquifer and other water sources are dangerously low. Base prices of water have been hiked insanely high in an effort to get people to cut back, high fines have been enacted for using more than your allotted quota. Advances have been made in desalinization technology in an effort to make more water available for drinking.
I cut back on water because I don't want to go above my allotted quota and be charged super high penalty rates. More importantly though, I cut back on water because I think it is immoral to be wasting water when we're in the middle of a bad drought. Yes, what I do is only a drop in the bucket (pun intended), but I feel that I must do the best I can do, even if the millionaires are still filling their backyard swimming pools and luxuriating with water at the expense of others.

    Limited Resources

    Conservation is important because there is a limited amount of crude oil, natural gas, coal, drinking water, etc.
    Politics. Because of the dearth of natural resources, he who holds the key to this fuel has bargaining power in the political arena. Being reliant on another country for fuel and water is a very dangerous position to be in. Conservation and relying on renewable resources like wind and sun help you stand on your own two feet and not need to kowtow to those with the oil.
    Depleting the Earth. The less we conserve, the more we destroy the Earth by removing all non renewable resources. I'm not all hippy and greeny and "Save the Whales" usually, but it's something to think about. We also manage to destroy the world by trying to get at these resources. If we weren't so reliant on crude oil, for example, this BP oil spill (the worst oil disaster in world history) wouldn't have happened.
    What Next? More importantly than the ramifications of damaging our planet irreparably is the fact that once these fuels run out, we're stuck. Sure, hopefully by that time we'll have perfected sustainable energy technology, but why wait till after we've already destroyed the planet? Why not start using sustainable energy now?

    Dependency on Technology is Dangerous

    Face it, in the face of disasters, most people would be completely lost and many would die, largely because of  our reliance on technology. By conserving, we learn to rely less on technology, preparing us for possible disasters.
    Natural Disasters. When earthquakes, mudslides, hurricanes, tsunamis, or any other natural disasters occur, people are stranded without any electricity, no water, and no food. We rely so much on technology that most people are lacking the basic skills to live in a world without technology, have no idea what to eat if there isn't a supermarket or McDonald's readily available, and have nothing to drink if the water pumps aren't being run because of a lack of electricity.
    Unnatural Disasters. In the event of a nuclear war, or even smaller scale wars that leave people stranded, reliance on technology leaves everyone unprepared and unable to fend for themselves.

    Waste is Sinful

    On one last positive note...
    At least according to my belief system, waste is sinful. Sure, leaving on lights while showering isn't a huge waste, its just a tiny little waste. Tiny little waste gives you tiny little sins; large waste is obviously a bigger sin.
    Little sin, big sin, who cares. Why any sin? Why not just conserve?

    Ok, this post was a bit more gloomy and dreary than my usual post, but I think it explains well enough why I bother conserving.

    Do you conserve, or do you also feel "Why bother?"

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