The Common Sense of Energy Use
By David Saperstein
1- They make dire pronouncements that there will be a "worse than normal" hurricane season that will hurt natural gas and oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. Like last year? NOT.
The majority of the media buys into all these excuses as though they were facts. They fan the flames of fear, and carry the message to us - This is the price you must pay. You have no choice. They make all these "reasons" sound plausible and true. They are partners in the manipulation.
I am a professional writer. I am not a member of any political party. I live a few hundred yards from where Thomas Paine once lived. His spirit is my neighbor, and through the years he has been an inspiration for me to try to speak out when I sense our country and our freedom are threatened. Tom Paine used his pen to write pamphlets that communicated common sense and exposed the tyranny of a government removed from the people. Paine and his fellow revolutionaries fought to give us our Republic of laws. I urge you to put aside some of your less important concerns and pursuits, and for the next few months, maybe years, take part in shaping our national future. Get active. Speak out. Don't be afraid. Think. Demand honest answers and an accounting from those who we entrust to govern, and those who now ask for that privilege again. Seek the truth. Don't be hoodwinked by slick ads, hollow partisan accusations, biased media and their pundits, and what has become all too common - outright lies. Beware the multi-national corporation whose interests lie beyond our borders.
Most of all ignore the attempts to instill fear. Franklin Delano Roosevelt said it. "There is nothing to fear but fear itself!" Do not surrender your birthright.
Get involved and urge others to do the same, no matter what your politics. Be a leader and example to your family, friends and neighbors. DO SOMETHING!
My idea is to start with something we all can do. It requires a little sacrifice and creativity. It will send an extremely powerful message around the world. It will help to support our troops. It will weaken our enemies. It will make our corrupt politicians quake in their Gucci boots.
I've titled it in honor of Tom Paine.
THE COMMON SENSE OF ENERGY USE
Subtitle: How to begin to affect and control the price of energy, cause a truly free market to operate and secure our nation's energy needs in the future.
1- Don't drive unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. Be honest about it. And tell people why you are not doing it.
I work at home. I have cut my trips to the post office and bank from 3 a week to 1. I telecommute to most meetings. I avoid heavy traffic where thousands of idling motors waste and pollute. My wife and I do our major shopping once every two weeks. We bought a Honda that gets very good mileage. I have cut back the use of my boat by 70% and do NOT buy "marine gas" (premium) at $4.00+ a gallon. Instead, I bought two 5 gallon gas cans. I fill them at the lowest priced local gas station.
Our vehicles fuel savings for one year - $ 1,265.00
2- If you can, cancel long distance vacation plans - air sea, car...whatever. Think of the American kids in Afghanistan and Iraq. Think of it as support for them. Let's all go on vacation together when they come home.
Our savings - $ 3,500.00 - $5,000.00
3- Lower the thermostat in winter. We dropped it 3 degrees. We dressed warmer.
Our savings weren't that great because fuel prices were radically increased, but based on last year's use we still saved more than $ 1,000.00
4- Cut back on air conditioning as much as possible. We bought small, energy efficient window units and rarely turn on the central air conditioning.
Savings - $ 545.00
5- Buy only energy efficient appliances.
We also put in new, energy efficient windows two years ago. The cost was high but will pay for itself by 2009. You get a tax break if you do that now.
After 2009 we estimate we will save $ 1,200.00 - $1,500.00 per year at today's natural gas prices.
6- Cut back on purchase and use of any product that contains petrochemicals - I.E. plastics, Vaseline, motor oil, excessive and wasteful packaging...ETC.
No direct savings yet, but many companies are beginning to change their packaging.
7- Don't buy or rent or lease a car or SUV that doesn't get at least 30MPG.
We bought the Honda. My next car will be a hybrid, or if available, electric or hydrogen.
Savings - HUGE!
8- Write to the car companies, especially the US manufacturers, and demand that they increase fuel efficiency by 25% and develop hybrid models. Note that Toyota, Honda and Ford seem to be doing this. Tell the other auto companies you will give these companies your business if they don't build truly efficient engines.
Getting these cars in the future is really one for the kids, grandkids, American auto workers and all the workers who feed the auto industry with parts and services.
9- Buy your gas at the cheapest local gas station and then tell the other local stations what you've done, why you've done it, and that you intend to continue to do it.
Watch the prices drop. We constantly hear about a "market economy". Well, who do you think the "market" is? ITS YOU! Give the "What can we do?" media and economists a real-life lesson.
9- Help to support families of Reservists and National Guard troops who have been snatched up and sent to war. And remember those especially who have been forced to do two and three tours. Our "make war on the cheap" policy is really hurting them.
This is a back door draft. Demand that your local, state and national government agencies help these soldiers and their families.
10- Let your senator and congressperson know you are doing all, or part, of the above. Tell them that though you were not asked to fight the "war on terror", you're doing it anyway. Tell them that you want a real tax deduction for the sacrifice you are making to win the war because you are doing things that the government refuses to do, or ask you to do.
Don't bother with the executive branch of our government. It is clear that they do not respect "We the People", or the troops, or the constitution and our "inalienable" rights.
11- Go on-line, e-mail, telephone, send letters and tell the oil companies, the Saudi's (via their embassy), the American auto companies, your local auto dealer, and companies that use wasteful plastic packaging...ETC. that you are cutting back and that they cannot take your patronage for granted anymore. Demand they begin to develop new energy sources, efficient vehicles and efficient environmentally-friendly packaging.
You will be amazed at the action that a letter to the Chairman and CEO will get you.
12- Don't be sucked in by the TV ads and the flurry of polls and election slogans that bombard us two years before our national election. I believe the goal of all this is to wear us down. Pay attention to local and state matters. Let your representatives know it is time for them to get to work, cut out the partisan crap, and listen to "We the People". Let your senators know they no longer belong to an exclusive club. They are just public servants who must now serve the public or will be shown the door.
Zero in on the candidates energy policy. Support those who promise, on-camera and/or in writing, to introduce and support real and effective energy policy that will moved us toward being energy self-sufficient by 2016. Tell them if they do not take substantial steps to do that NOW, they will not have your vote in 2008.
I believe that most officials and elected office holders in our government are not asking us to do any of these things because most are comfortable fat cats, with perks, pensions, health insurance and jobs waiting for them in that "private sector" they support. Many are allied with those who profit from the status quo, no-bid contracts, military equipment procurement, tax breaks and a long list of what 'We the People" have been bilked out of.
Now it is time for "We the People of the United States" to exercise our power as the true "free market" force that we are. Send the message to our government, and the world, that we are digging in to fight, ALL OF US, against those who have sworn to destroy us. Let's stop sending them our hard earned dollars so that they may support terrorists.
I was a very young child during WWII. But I remember everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, pulling in the same direction, making sacrifices and supporting the effort to beat those who wanted to take away our freedom and democracy. What I propose now is that we begin to do the same against the threats we now face here and abroad.
Please don't write back to me and tell me I am wrong or dumb or partisan or unpatriotic or Pollyannaish. Instead, I hope you will do something positive.
Make your own plan. Pass on your thoughts, or mine, or both, to your family, friends, neighbors, fellow workers, associates and local, state and national candidates and representatives. Get involved because it's important. Be a part of securing your country, your future, and your freedom.
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