Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Imagine Possibilities

I often say "don't focus on limitations, imagine possibilities!" It's important, because the way things are is not the way things have to be. We can have our cake and eat it, too. We may not have cake every single day, but to me, having some cake, on special occasions, is way better than gorging today, and then, having none for the rest of my life.

With that philosophy in mind, my advice is always to cut back, and then, figure out what one absolutely needs. So, continuing with the cake analogy, there are five people in my family. At very least, we would want cake five times per year (on birthdays), and perhaps, if we're very careful, we could extend our cake-eating to a couple of significant holidays. We'd still have cake, just not every time we want it, and in my opinion it would make the having of it that much more special.

If we switch that analogy to other things that we, here in America, have more than enough of, we'd find that we could significantly reduce our usage, and still not feel deprived. The average person, through almost no effort at all, could easily reduce his/her electricity usage by at least half, and then, with a little more thought and a bit more action, could take it down even further.

Once we get the numbers down, we'd discover that we're not so dependent on things over which we have no control. If we're only using as much electricity as we can produce ourselves, for instance, then, it doesn't matter if the grid goes down.

I've mentioned on more than one occasion that a good choice for small-scale electricity generation (especially in colder, more densely forested climates, like mine) is biomass gassification, but it's not a new idea, and it certainly isn't my brain-child.

In fact, in the 1970s Jean Pain, a Frenchman, pioneered a way of turning composting wood chips into energy for hot water and electricity.

Energy depletion doesn't have to mean that we give up everything and revert back to the Dark Ages. We still have the time to attend the wedding between our modern amenities and more simple, older technologies. But before the nuptials can take place, we need to introduce the couple.

I'm sure it will be love at first sight ;).


  1. Great food for thought - thanks

  2. I read the most interesting blog post today. It started out with this paragraph:

    "My local library system has partnered with my local power company to make Kill-A-Watt energy meters available for check-out, just like a book or video. A few weeks ago, I checked out a Kill-A-Watt. These things look like a remote control and a power strip had a baby. You plug your appliance into the Kill-A-Watt, and plug the Kill-A-Watt into the wall. The meter monitors and records the energy being consumed by your appliance in Kilowatt Hours (kWh)."

    I got very excited by this and checked with both my local library and energy company to see if they had a similar program...sadly, they don't. But the woman at the electrical company sounded excited about the idea and promised to suggest it to her superiors. I thought I would pass the idea on to you as well, because I know cutting down electrical usage is kinda a passion of yours!

  3. I've often said that most of us could probably cut 20% of our energy usage and not even notice — or even see an improvement in our quality of life.