Simple steps to saving money and energy

12 Dec. 2009, Copenhagen, Denmark - Global Day...

Conventional energy production is dirty. Despite recent global climate summits and their often heated sessions, inaction is not reducing man-made damage to the atmosphere. While most citizens rely on legislation for protection from excessive pollution, generations of unsustainable production, consumption and toxic waste burden the natural forces behind climate cycles. Corporate operatives direct government policy and massive advertising steers consumer dollars away from systems that support a cleaner, more just and sustainable future. Join us to learn more about simple, money- and energy-saving steps everyone can take at home, work and at school.

Click here for a Good Dirt Radio 5-minute eco-spot on simple steps.

Click here for resources and information on this topic.

Read transcript below.

Welcome to Good Dirt Radio, reporting on positive change… taking root.

Everyone knows… conventional energy production… is dirty.  Despite recent global climate summits and their often heated sessions, inaction, in Washington DC is not reducing man-made damage to the atmosphere.  While most citizens rely on legislation for protection from excessive pollution, generations of unsustainable production, consumption and toxic waste burden natural climate forces.   Corporate operatives direct government policy and massive advertising steers consumer dollars away from systems that support a cleaner, more just and sustainable future.

But proponents of a cleaner, greener world, say that big change always comes from the bottom up, from people power.  They say everyone can use less by embracing simple, money- and energy-saving solutions.  For example, switching off phantom power loads from electronics like power adapters, appliances and media components which draw power when turned off can save about 6% of an average electric bill.  Drying your clothes in the sun can save another 6%.   Enough people taking simple steps, can make a big difference.

David Burdick is a Portland, OR engineer and a certified auditor of ecological standards.   He refers to the environmental impact of one’s energy use as an ‘ecological footprint,’ and reminds us of a few most basic, low tech steps for using less energy.

Burdick:  One needs to find ways to take things into one’s own hands because the governance is dedicated to the status quo.   I look at the major impacts of my lifestyle.  So I try to prioritize what is gonna get me the biggest bang for my sustainable dollar.  So the simple things that I do are insulate, turning down the faucets, reduce the amount of heat I use for water, reducing  the amount of water I use, cover my windows.  It doesn’t cost much to do these ideas and normally you do get savings that will pay back for itself within one or two years.  

Burdick says folks at work can ask their management to help set up paper recycling and restaurants can recycle fresh food scraps for animals and compost the rest.

Seth Masia is Deputy Editor of Solar Today Magazine, promoting    renewable energy and conservation as solutions to the climate change crisis.   Masia agrees it’s up to the people to change ‘business as usual’ and cites other simple measures most anyone can embrace.

Masia:  Well the big bang for the buck is to use less energy and its possible to do that without affecting your lifestyle much.  The typical American home can cut its fuel bill about 20-25% simply by improving the insulation.  Blocking air drafts around doors and windows, caulking foundations, it includes improving the insulation in the walls and especially at the roof.  Turn the thermostat on the hot water heater down to about 122 degrees fahrenheit.  If your house is in full sun, and you’re in a warm part of the country, you do need air conditioning, well, try turning the thermostat up a couple of degrees.  You might not notice the difference but its going to save a lot of electricity and its gonna save you a lot of money.

Sheryl Eisenberg is a NYC website developer and writer of Green Living columns for the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC.  She promotes no-brainer solutions that help offset the causes of excessive global pollution.

Eisenberg:  Producing new things takes a lot of energy.  You can buy products made of recycled materials.  Its takes less energy to produce something from a recycled material then from virgin material.   You can avoid products with lots of packaging.  There was energy used to produce it and there will be energy used to dispose of it.  If you put on a sweater on when the weather dips instead of turning up the thermostat, if you open a window instead of turning on the air conditioner, if you turn off the lights, you’re going to save yourself some money and it doesn’t cost you a thing.  So, my advice is to work with nature, not against it.

Masia:  If you’re concerned about the future of this country and the world at all, then you’ve got to be concerned about the threat of climate change and the related drought and more intense storms and higher prices for every thing.  And it’s up to us as individuals, as families, as communities to do the best that we can   to limit the effects of climate change and that’s all tied to the way we use energy.

Consumers have countless ways in which to get involved in practicing conservation at home, school and at work.  More simple, practical examples of how to use less energy can be found on our website,

Did you know green power may be available in your area?  We urge you to call for details. When enough people make big changes….big things can happen.  The climate clock is ticking.

I’m Tami Graham and I’m Tom Bartels.  Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio, digging up good news…. for a change.


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