A Green Revolution Resolution

Jade Moon
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Wednesday - January 14, 2009
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January’s a good month to make resolutions. I’m a believer in making them, though not always successful in keeping them. But how better to keep your life on track than to do a little navel-gazing at least once a year? Most of us have a predictable roster: Lose weight, make more money, find love, finish or start school, live happily ever after.

I’d like to make a suggestion to add to your list: Get serious - or more serious - about “going green.”

Green is no longer a concept reserved for tree huggers, protesters and perceived crackpots. Green has gone mainstream. For many of us, it has become a lifestyle choice and a civic responsibility. Businesses, government and individuals are embracing it and pushing for action.

Take, for example, energy efficiency. It isn’t just a pie-inthe-sky concept anymore. We know now that managing our energy wisely can reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil, fight global warming, eliminate or lessen the need for new power plants, and cut costs to consumers. As such, energy efficiency holds a prominent place on our president-elect’s priority list - Barack Obama has pledged to cut federal energy use by 15 percent. It’s on the cover of a recent Time magazine. States are looking at ways to promote efficiency through the use of technology and financial incentives.

We, personally, can do a lot to help. Many of you started by taking the small but important step of changing your light bulbs. Sure, there still are those who scoff at the idea of switching to CFLs, but these unenlightened (so to speak) hold-outs are fewer in number and railing against the inevitable. I guess I understand where they’re coming from; after all, it sounds almost simplistic to think changing a light bulb can actually make a difference.

But you know what? It works.

A CFL may be a bit more expensive up front, but it lasts eight times longer than your conventional bulb, and the savings - in cost and energy - kick in right away. It works because when a lot of people do it, it has a huge impact on our energy consumption.

There are other things we can do at home by combining energy efficiency with conservation. Consider buying a solar water-heating system. Purchase Energy Star appliances. Run the dishwasher only when it’s full. Use cold water to wash your clothes. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Use ceiling fans instead of the AC.

Unplug everything you aren’t using, including your hair dryer, rice cooker, toaster, cell-phone chargers, computer, printer ... it all adds up.

There is hope, and it lies in the hands of our children. My son and kids all over Hawaii and the country will be the first generation to grow up accepting “green” not as a trend but as a way of life. I give a lot of credit to their enlightened teachers who are finding ways to incorporate environmental lessons into their curriculums, and schools that hold recycling drives nowadays the way we used to hold bake sales. The kids absorb those lessons at school and come home to teach their parents.

This is something we can all do. Let’s put it on our list for 2009.

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