Living “Green” is for NUTS!

29 Jul

Why should I care if you’re building “Green?” You’re a nut!

I get asked/told that a lot…

I started thinking about it, and how it impacts people other than my immediate family.

So, I ponied up to the “Virgin Airlines” ticket counter, and bought my three synapses a ticket, so that they could all arrive at the same destination simultaneously, and converse about “Green Logic.”

(After all, anyone who knows me, has already figured out that I have a huge expanse of “emptiness” where my synapses are supposed to reside…)

Sure, they screamed about shots, and visas, and Homeland Security “full body searches,” but heck… it’s just part of travel nowadays… Get over it…

And, after many seconds of profound thought (coupled with a few distractions, here and there; “Ohhhhh! Shiny!) here’s my reply;

The concept of “building green” isn’t just bandied about by “the Birkenstock Brigade” anymore. At the beginning of the “Green Revolution,” the only people who really cared at all, were labeled “hippies,” “communists,” and “dope-smoking deviants.” It was back in the days of “Ecology Rules!,” “Save the Whales,” and “Save the Planet.” Remember?

Listening to Rock ‘n’ Roll made your parents mad, girls went braless (Boy, did that make my parents mad!), boys drove hot rods, and burgers cost a buck… Those were the days…

But, in America, we were “fat and happy,” and we thought that the resources would never run out, gas would stay under a buck a gallon, and powerplants would produce enough energy to keep every light in America turned on, at the same time, forever…

Well… WAKE UP PEOPLE! Things have changed. You know, like the population, the economy, the participation of (gasp!) government… ah, don’t get me started!

Anybody getting a power bill can see the rates starting to climb higher than Sir Hillary, when he conquered Mt. Everest… Anybody driving a car, can see the stranglehold that America is in, trying to maintain the demand for fuel.

Relax, I’m not gonna look for a “soapbox,” and start lecturing you on the Administration, and “life at the door of doomsday.”

Every day, we get bombarded with corporate boilerplate, touting “this green mission” or that one. After all, corporate America wants you to know that they have your best interests at heart… that is, if you’re a stockholder in their company.

For the most part, it’s just drivel, aimed at making you think they’re acting responsibly, while they go after a Federal Grant or that new “Tax Credit” to build a bigger box to house those lucrative board seats.

Every penny they save… gets them a bigger raise!

But, that’s well beyond the reach of most of us. I don’t know about you, but when I want a raise, I have to go get a ladder. I can’t just hold my hand out and wait for “green” proceeds to fall into it… Or can I?

Frustratingly enough, it seems like the “lions share” of these programs are aimed at corporations and non-profits. Somebody forget that we, the “consumer” families, are the largest population base, and as such, could make the biggest difference.

What can an “anybody” do? Well, we can take little steps, one at a time. You don’t have to throw yourself off the top of “Green Mountain” to start seeing the benefits of “green living.”

Green Life” is simply using your head, and whatever “technology” you can grasp, and chipping away at the excesses in your lifestyle. Nothing more. After all, somebody pays for those excesses, and I bet at the end of the month, when you’re doing your bills, you figure out pretty fast, who that is. It’s YOU!

There are quite a few grants and tax credits available available to the common man. We’ll talk about them in later posts, but here’s a few…

The Department of Energy gives money to people building and implementing energy efficient structures using renewable energy materials. One of those structures could be your home. Well, it could!

Green Communities” provide grants, financing, tax-credit equity, and technical assistance to people who meet the criteria for affordable housing. The housing must promote health, conserve energy and natural resources, and provide easy access to jobs, schools and services. Again, that sounds suspiciously like your house, huh? Well, it could!

I know what you’re thinking;

If this poltroon says “well, it could…” one more time… I’m outta here…

Or maybe you’re thinking;

Oh gawd! Another one of those rambling, “boring as dirt” posts, about how the government is going to save us from ourselves!”

NOPE! You can relax, I’m gonna look at this whole “Green” thing, from another angle. One I think you can readily identify with…

Well, you could! LOL!

Be it a weather disaster of epic proportions, a crisis like a foreclosure, or just the sorry state of the economy, many of us aren’t in the homes we should be. I know I’m not. My family is living in a “crack apartment,” complete with slumlord. Think “Leona Helmsley, with a southern drawl.”

We live in Mississippi. It’s the deepest, darkest, most remote part of the South, if you talk to any of your neighbors for more than a minute. If you’re not doing things just like “Pah-Pah” did, you “just ain’t right.”

That presents a real challenge to anyone trying to commit to change. After all, nobody wants to be “that crazy guy down the street…”

(Well, actually, I do. It keeps the riff-raff off my porch!)

I live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, with my wife and 9 month old son. And because it’s got more holes in it than that little dutch kid had fingers, the dam is bursting all over the place. My power bills are astronomical, my living room could double as a greenhouse (it’s hot, hot, hot!) and this is the most inefficient black-hole in the planet…

And yeah, we could just move, but I can’t afford to. So, I’ve gotta think this through, and chip away at the edges, to tame the beast.

It begins by changing the light bulbs.

How many idiots does it take to change a light bulb in the South?

Apparently, it takes two. Because my wife sits looking over my shoulder telling me I’m doing it wrong! LOL!

Those “newfangled” fluorescent bulbs are more than just “curly fry sculptures.” They’re designed to provide maximum light, with minimum power use. They look cool, and even though they cost a bit more, they make you money in the long run.

Hey, if you look carefully, you can even find them at the dollar store. That’ll whittle down your light bill a bit…

And, then, after you bandage all your cut and scraped fingers, from the sharp edges of the plastic wrapping the bulbs came in…

You start spreading the caulk. All those doors and windows in your house probably leak. This allows stuff out, and it allows stuff in…

You wanna keep your stuff right where you put it, right? So, have a “caulking party.” The next time all your pals come over to watch the big game, tell ’em that they can’t hang out, until you get all the caulking done. Tell them to take it up with your wife, if they don’t like it.

FYI: Nobody takes it up with MY wife. She’s an Indian just off the reservation, and she can kick serious butt. I’ve learned from experience that it’s way easier to just do what she asks…

BTW: There’s no such thing as “caulking that keeps your Mother-In-Law out.” I know, because I checked…” You have to use garlic, and witch’s bane…

So, now you have new bulbs, and shiny new caulk. What’s next?

Leaky doors.

No, it’s not a new tribute band to Jim Morrison.

It’s that rotten weatherstripping around your doors that makes that funny whistle when the wind picks up. And, it’s an easy fix. Just strip off the old stuff (it usually peels right off…) and peel and stick new weatherproofing tape to your door jambs. That’ll keep the hot out, and the cool in…

And making more “cool” costs money. A/C is expensive!

All that stuff shouldn’t take you more than about one week-end. And, you’ll chip down your power bill, and increase the efficiency of your household.

Hey, your kid can even take the old bulbs, a handful of used weatherstripping, and an empty caulking tube to work, for “show and tell…” He/she will be the hero of the class, for saving energy!

Well, probably not. Unfortunately, geeky kids still get the bejeezus kicked out of them, but at least they’ll get an “A” on their report card. Remember; “The bully may rule the schoolyard, but the geek shall inherit the earth…”

But you can see where this is going. You didn’t get dragged to Home Depot for new appliances, and you didn’t have to pick up any tools. And the money you saved, will buy your wife a new pair of shoes…

See? Green is good! You save money, your kid gets an “A,” and your wife makes nice, after getting new shoes. You should be proud of yourself!

Next time, we’ll talk about taking serious steps towards real live “Green Living.”

Stay tuned…

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2 Responses to “Living “Green” is for NUTS!”

  1. green4u July 29, 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    You can change your thermostat too… programmable thermostats save energy. Ceiling fans help to in both winter and summer (you need to get one that can spin in both directions). There are lots of small things you can do. I need to do the caulking thing though myself!!

    http://green4u.wordpress.com

  2. renaissanceronin July 29, 2008 at 1:10 pm #

    @ green4u: See, you’re nuts too! I suppose it’s up to us “nuts” to save the world… LOL!
    And those things wouldn’t take more than a few minutes too! Perhaps my next post should be”How to save the world, in less than five minutes!”
    Ya think?
    Thanks for stopping by!

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