With Hurricane Irene bearing down on Manhattan, Super Typhoon Nanmadol raging in the Pacific, and a horrible drought starving millions in East Africa, I've been thinking more and more about Global Climate Change. The Inconvient Truth that Al Gore brought to our attentiuon isn't going away, in fact, Mother Nature seems to be hammering his points home. Literally.
There is an urgent need to reduce our dependence on carbon-based fuels. Indeed, if you accept the reality of carbon-based climate change, the number one priroity for insuring our future is a dramatic reduction of carbon-based fuels. I find it really disturbing that the loudest voices amist this crisis come from Exxon Mobil ads, espousing their surity about the safety of hydraulic fracking, the People of America's Natural Gas and Oil Industry, talking about how their industry fuels our economy, and the "Clean Coal" people with their dire warnings about how higher electricity prices would kill jobs.
The real truth is that cheap electricity has powered our culture of energy wastefulness — most vividly illustrated by Vampire Power. To satisfy our need for instant gratification, our electronics never turn completely off. They draw a trickle of power to enable remote controls, time displays, and instant-on features. Other devices, such as cell phone chargers, draw power when they're plugged in without providing ANY benefit, other than saving our lazy asses the trouble of unplugging them. Vampire Power consumes 5-22% of America’s total electricity usage… a huge cost individually, socially and environmentally.
We're all guilty, and all of us could conserve more. The easy way to kill Vampire Power is by using power strips that allow you to selectively and fully power down the items in your computer/peripherals set up or media center, while leaving some things (like the precious DVR) always powered on. You can even get one with a remote so you don’t even have to crouch down to flip the switch. Not only will you save on electricity, those fully turned-off electronics will produce less residual heat, reducing the need for air conditioning too! Today I ordered a Belkin Conserve Energy-Saving Surge Protector Power Strip with Remote for my media center from amazon.com for $29.99 including free shipping. Now when I leave the house, I pledge to shut down my wifi network, TV and DVD player. Will you join me?