The radio show "Marketplace" is doing a series about the economics of our consumer culture. I'm almost speechless that they went so in-depth about the dirty little secret that most of us share: Our responsibility for using a huge portion of the world's resources while being a small part of the population and NOT REALLY CARING about it. I was really moved that a show about the American free market system would talk about personal responsibility. Amen to them!
Anyway, the show had a link to this game you can play to find out how many Earths there would need to be if everyone lived the way you do. I've done games like this before but, for some reason, this time it really hit home. I scored very low compared to most people: There would only need to be 2 Earths for me. But that's with not owning a second car and riding the bus instead. I got out our energy usage bill to see what our average payment is. On our bill is how much "Green Power" energy we use. We only signed up for a couple of blocks originally. With the electric bill comes a little "newsletter". The lead article is about Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) making rate changes ahead. It says "Of the $1 billion in capital spending for a new generation, $317 million is budgeted to begin construction of a second reactor unit at TVA's Watts Bar Nuclear Plant." I can't support that and I won't support it with my money. I just made the switch to full Green Power, even though it will cost us almost $40 more each month (and the nuclear reactor will be built anyway).
In the newsletter, there are several articles about how to save energy and about having energy audits done and buying energy efficient appliances and then there's an article on the annual "Christmas Lights" competition. Save energy by turning off your lights but be sure to plug your yard in for the month of December!