|To a certain extent, government is to be held responsible for the decisions regarding the future of our country. However, since government is created by the people, perhaps, it is the people that should participate. Nowhere is this more apropro than with the current energy situation in Springfield.
Commentary by Simon Mahan, president, Sierra Club
Southwest Missouri State University
It is up to citizens and businesses to reduce demand on our coal-fired power plants. Here are three easy tips that we can do to reduce energy consumption:
- First, replace all your light bulbs with a compact fluorescent type. These funny-looking bulbs save about 60-80% in energy costs--an estimated $37 for the duration of the life of the bulb.
- The second tip is to make sure that all your appliances are completely off by unplugging them. Televisions and other appliances that use remote controls while connected still use electricity when turned off. And you can save about $20 a year by turning off your computer overnight.
- The last tip is to turn your thermostats down. I live in a 1,200 sq. foot apartment. My electric bill for June was $19.50. I run my air conditioner but set it to 80-degrees when I leave for work in the morning and wait until 7 p.m. to turn it back down to a comfortable level.
According to the manufacturer of the ECObulb, their 15 watt compact fluorescent capsule, although pricier, replaces a 60 watt incandescent bulb and has an average life of 10,000 hours or normal use for up to 7 years. (Editorial comment -- not an endorsement of the manufacturer of the bulb)
Apartment companies that pay their tenants' electric bills should give away compact fluorescent light bulbs and upgrade to Energy Star compliant appliances. Everyone wins. The tenants would be happy for the free light bulbs and upgrades to their apartments and the landlords would have cheaper electric bills.
Finally, there is no other business in Springfield that should become more efficient than Bass Pro Shops. They should be leading the way. With their ideals of conservation and fantastic mottos like, "We all live downstream," Bass Pro should recognize the threats to the fishing industry caused by coal-fired power plants. The mercury emitted from these plants causes fishermen to be fearful of their catch. Likewise, from the smoke stacks of these relics of our dirty past selenium, a chemical known to be toxic to fish, is emitted. And not the least of the degradation to the streams we all hold so dear, thermal pollution emitted from coal plants can cause harmful algae blooms and increased bacteria.