Column by Barbara Hirsch
Recent events emphasize how drilling for oil and gas, mining for coal, generating nuclear energy and its waste all bring perils to people and environmental destruction. The cleanest, safest power plants are the ones not built – simply using less energy is (so clearly) the sanest way to make more available in the future. And much safer. Consider some hazards of using less energy, before embarking down this path.
From the personal:
If all of your lights aren’t on at home, your house will look less welcoming to the weary stranger walking by. Your friends might own bigger tvs. You might find your environment more peaceful when not surrounded by the visuals and audio of an electronic lifestyle, or by devices that are sucking power, even when not in use (the phantom load phenomenon). Driving less, you might have more time for connecting with people or your environment. You might be even more frustrated sitting in stop and go traffic, because you experience it less! Your electricity and fuel bills will go down.
To the political:
Using less oil, less will need to be imported from politically unstable regions. Oil companies’ profits might decrease, they might decide to invest more in renewables, sooner. The need for more mountaintop removal, fracking, deep water drilling, building new nuclear power plants, etc. might level off.
PS: An actual hazard regarding lighting – CFLs, the squiggly bulbs, contain a bit of mercury and so do need to be disposed of properly.