Empowering Community Energy
Through the reduction of dependence on fossil fuels we can make our land, our air, our water cleaner and more healthy.
Nearly 85 percent of the U.S. energy supply comes from fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil. Fossil fuels take millions of years to form and are thus considered to be nonrenewable. Higher energy demands and poor efficiency practices have increased fossil fuel usage, and it’s now critical to find alternative means of energy generation before depleting the global supply. It takes individual and community actions to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.
People can do simple things to decrease energy consumption. Energy consumption can be reduced by simply turning off lights when a room is not in use, replacing light bulbs with longer-lasting fluorescent bulbs and only running air conditioning when a home is occupied. Other steps to reduce fossil fuel reliance include ensuring your home has efficient insulation for heating and cooling purposes and using Energy Star-rated consumer appliances. The Energy Star label is awarded to efficient products that reduce the total amount of energy used and typically display a calculated year’s savings as a percentage or dollar amount to help inform consumers.
Many consumer goods can be reused instead of discarded. For example, use a fabric grocery shopping bag instead of paper or plastic. Reusable glass plates and cups will also reduce the amount of Styrofoam and plastics that require fossil fuel resources. When shopping, you can also buy post-consumer manufactured goods made from recycled materials. Some products such as computer printer ink cartridges may also be refilled and reused.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 75 percent of American waste is recyclable. You can help reduce the reliance on fossil fuels by recycling your waste instead of sending it to a landfill. Donate working products such as microwaves, lights, fans, clothing that no longer fits and household goods you no longer want to charities like Goodwill instead of throwing them away. It’s also a good idea to participate in your city’s recycling programs that provide trash bins for plastics, aluminum and paper.
One solution to the depletion of nonrenewable fossil fuel usage is to go green. Going green means living your life in a way that sustains current resources for future generations. Green living always seeks to find a balance between humans and natural surroundings. This lifestyle choice focuses on respecting the environment by using as few resources as necessary; consuming only the food and energy needed for survival; participating in recycling programs that reduce municipal solid waste; using green energy electricity services such as solar power, which reduces pollution; and working together with other community members to ensure your children and grandchildren get to experience the same high-quality life. Communities can also go green by encouraging local lawmakers and planning agencies to create walkable neighborhoods where human interactions are favored over cars that pollute the air.