By Janet Fraser
On this beautiful warm August afternoon, I am immensely enjoying this summery weather in the shade of my backyard and a welcome breeze. I know it’s hot in the sun…the kind of day children run through sprinklers, and play in backyard pools, and campers enjoy the many fabulous lakes and rivers which are so abundant in Ontario. There’s no air conditioning on in the house, and the windows are wide open. The temperature inside is only 26 degrees. In fact we have only used the air conditioning three times this summer…on those days when the humidex was high and it felt like 40 degrees. Energy is a precious resource and we have to use it wisely. It is not a hardship, but a responsibility.
We are ordinary folk and we know our ecological footprint is still larger than it should be. We are trying to change habits…do our part…reuse bags, use CFL lightbulbs, drive an efficient car, use no pesticides. These changes are easy and many people are also doing their part.
But I know that elsewhere, in our malls, and offices, restaurants and donut shops, air conditioners are running full tilt…even on this beautiful day. Lights are on even in vacant rooms. People in their workplaces are wearing sweaters to keep off the chill of the air conditioning. It’s the way so many buildings are designed today….windows that do not open, rooms without windows at all. I recall a day when many stores would open their doors wide as customers came and went and everyone enjoyed the fresh air of summer! Many people prefer to sit out on the outdoor patios of restaurants rather than experience the ‘cold’ inside. Something is wrong with this picture! We have an energy crisis….yes the government says ‘we need to keep the lights on’…but do we really need to leave on so many? When will conservation be taken seriously as an alternative to expensive mega-projects such as Nuclear Power Plants? If California can save 12,000 megawatts of power through conservation measures, so can Ontario. That’s as much power as is produced by two or three Nuclear Power plants.
Conservation may not create jobs..but it certainly saves money for governments ( that is taxpayers) business, schools, hospitals, individuals and reduces the huge environmental costs of large energy projects.
Posted by Janet Fraser