By Kathy Morrison
After sitting at the blinking computer yesterday (literally - my laptop screen is going), for hours on end, researching the stink issues, and then roaming the house, sleeping part of the night in bed, part on the sofa, and part on the kitchen floor with an injured barn cat, I got thinking about the Digester (what's new?) and electricity consumption.
The Fremont Digester creates methane gas used for the production of electricity which most of us (okay, all of us, if you are reading this) use. There are many ways to create electricity, some more ecologically sound than others. In the cycle of the 3R's - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, we often neglect the first and most important - REDUCE. As a kid, my siblings and I were hounded by my Dad, a product of the Great Depression, to, "You kids - turn the lights off!"
What we thought was material for eye rolling and "Oh, gosh, Dad", I now see as a valuable lesson - Reduce. Do I need to leave lights on in a room where no one is using them? Probably not - definitely not! As I moved into my teen, and adult years, my Dad had already left me in good nick when it comes to automatically shutting lights off and think more deeply about energy usage.
Does it matter? Yes, it does. Energy consumption is a choice. I do not plan to go off the grid, and for now, I use commercially generated electricity.
Can I follow the first R of the three Rs more diligently? Definitely. If we all followed my Dad's lead would it matter? Most definitely. The more times we reduce our electricity usage, the fewer times a problematic or polluting electric plant needs to be created and placed somewhere.
Whether it is coal, solar, wind, biogas Digester, nuclear or any other type of electric creation facility, they all come with their own unique problems for the environment and for those of us who live near to them. As I train and, at times re-train myself, to make shutting off the lights an automatic habit, I can thank my Dad for starting me early on what has become a passion for me - trying to do less damage to the Earth.
So now, at 4 a.m. and for this still tired insomniac, "Lights off, Kathy".
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