Remember the Blue Whale

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With all the emphasis now on obesity, nobody wants to be called a whale, but there may be some basis for our being compared to one.

Geoffrey West, Theoretical Physicist, in an article in The New York Times, states that the average American uses approximately the same amount of energy daily as does a blue whale, and he points out that the blue whale outweighs us 2,285 to 1.

West concentrates on the increase in the consumption of oil by China and India and other emerging countries where the desire to live like we do will cause all of us a big problem in the future.  He warns that the consumption of oil is of great importance today and could become critical in the future given the right set of circumstances, not the least of which is the current unrest in the Middle East.

All the more reason for Americans to reduce their dependability on energy regardless of  the source. Your use of electricity is a good place to start.

This past summer was the hottest in 75 years and the second hottest since  record keeping was started in 1895 so this heat coupled with the three percent rate increase granted Alabama Power should make us look around for ways to decrease our usage and make us look a little less like a whale.

Unless you absolutely have no other choice, do not pay your power bill with a credit card. You will be charged $3.60 for this convenience.

Small savings add up. Remember the old Scottish proverb that advises you to take care of your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves.

We know what to do. We don’t need to be told that leaving a light on to light an empty room is just plain stupid, yet we do it on occasion. This is true not only at home, but do you switch the light off in your office when you leave work for the day? Or, at noon when you go out for lunch? It’s true you aren’t paying for the electricity directly, but all that energy is being wasted just the same.

Unplug all electrical appliances that are not in use.

A refrigerator in the carport or garage that is seldom used can add hundreds of dollars to your annual electric bill. If you just can’t part with the fridge, at least determine if you can’t unplug it except on those occasions when it is in use, perhaps for football visitors or holiday fare.

Check your freezer and transfer items into the top of the refrigerator if  there is room and unplug the freezer unless your owner’s manual instructs you otherwise.

Instead of having the entire outside of your property lighted at night, consider motion detectors that will turn the lights on if there is any movement.

Talk to a landscaper or the excellent Extension Agents who are here in Opelika about planting deciduous trees or shrubs that will shade your house in the summer and allow the sun to warm the house through bare branches in the winter.

If such planting is not feasible, consider a trellis tall enough to shade the sunny window.  Many fast growing vines can quickly cover the trellis.

Use the microwave or stovetop instead of the oven. If electric, turn the stovetop burner off just before the food is done; it will continue to cook.

After you have your morning coffee, pour the remaining coffee into a thermos so you will not have to either reheat it or make a new pot later.

You can bet that the cost of energy will continue to rise. The only way we can win in this situation is to reduce our personal consumption.

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at opelikaobserver@att.net 

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