Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Switching Power Outlets

Today's headline:

Germany to Phase Out Nuclear Power.

According to the article, Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world, and it's the largest economy in Europe. For whatever reason (safety, health, economic), they've discovered that nuclear power is *not* the best option, for them, and they're phasing it out in favor of renewable energy.

I lived in Germany, and I have several German friends (both here in the US and still in Germany). They are the most frugal people I know. Walking is a way of life, not "exercise." Their goods are manufactured for longevity (anyone ever own a pair of German-made Birkenstocks? I still have a pair I've been wearing for more than five years ... in 1984, my Dad sold the Mercedes Benz he bought in Germany in 1971 ... the leather furniture my parents bought in 1974 was handed down to me in still usable condition in 1996). Nothing is wasted, including energy, because they've learned, the hard way, to be conservative.

I hope we'll take a lesson from them and consider phasing out our dependence on unsustainable energy sources.

**Don't forget to check out the New Society Publisher's new Book Forum. I hear there might be some special guest appearances ;).


  1. And they're funny too, so much for the BS of humourless germans. Nice place to visit, and their super markets sell on quality not packaging.


  2. Wow, good news! Best wishes to them in working out all the details. (I hope that other countries will follow suit...hint, hint ;)

  3. SBW - I enjoyed the time I was in Germany - too short, though ;). I would have liked the chance to explore more.

    4Bushel - Agreed - I hope we can take the hint ;).

  4. I don't know. I have to agree with one commentary I heard: I'll believe it when I see it. Speculation is that it will be hard for them to do, and even if they are able to cut all of their Nuke Power out by the time they want to, there's the thought that they might end up importing power from neighboring countries that are supplying them with energy derived from nuclear sources.
    Is this really better? I mean you do reduce the amount of nuclear facilities, but you also tax the ones that remain harder. Not to mention you're giving up control of them when you outsource your power.
    I'm not pro-nuke power, but I think the timeline needs to be more reasonable.
    It took us how many years from the first lightbulb to use nuclear power to power that bulb? Let's expand the timeline a bit to ensure it's done right.

  5. Kaye - I agree it should be done right, and if Germany (who is mostly energy self-sufficient right now with their nuclear power) gives up their self-sufficiency just so that they can decommission their nuclear facilities only to turn around and buy the same dirty power from their neighbors, that would be a ridiculous waste and very sad.

    But, I have to give them kudos for even considering that it "should" be done, and the lesson I hope we (Americans) learn from their experiment is one of conservation ;).

    I know that you are already really frugal, but most people aren't. The average American uses 900 kwh of electricty per month, but if we could reduce that amount by half ... well, it would just give us a lot more options - as individuals and as a nation -, and perhaps, like the Germans, we could conceive of transforming our grid to renewable energies.