My Secrets to Saving the Planet (Again)

Can Knowing Your Electrical Panel Save the World?

I am probably naive, but I am going to try to save the planet (again). Yes, I already did save the planet a long time ago, but after that I got lazy and distracted. I was looking in the wrong place and something far worse than nuclear stock piling was building. Back then, I followed the inspiration of the wonderful Dr. Helen Caldicott, to lead us in the crusade for ending the arms race. But, we still have a problem with nuclear power and after the tsunami in Japan in 2011 caused a huge nuclear catastrophe, the Japanese just released a statement that they are going to start releasing radioactive water they have been collecting from 2011 into the ocean because they don’t know what else to do with it. Meanwhile, another nuclear power plant melt down happened recently. A Nuclear reactor melted down in Russia that the Russians tried to cover up but they can see it in the atmosphere. This, as Russia tows a portable off shore drilling rig out to the arctic. These are ghastly irresponsible people and Dr. Helen Caldicott is 83 now. But that’s not the big problem. It’s all related but that’s not the reason I have to save the world (again).

Now we look to Greta Thunberg to help us from a real life (not in the comics or cartoons) threat to the planet. This is the one. The problem. Us. Corporations, yes, but primarily, us. We keep buying what they are selling and, let’s face it, we are pretty pampered. People say to me, how are we going to survive without plastics!!! Anyone born before the date of 1970 probably spent ten years with maybe 10% of the plastics in our first years of life than we do now. Guess what? It was fine. In 1878 in Paris, Augustin Mouchot at the Universal Exposition demonstrated a refrigerator powered by a steam engine that had been solely powered by the sun. Mouchot won an award. We have always been able to do this, but at the time the “less costly” coal and later cheaper oil companies wouldn’t let it happen, and they still don’t want to give up. But, they will if you will. They understand consumer protests, but mostly they are good at noticing losing money.  So, I have developed my own secrets for being a resistance fighter and winning this war that already has taken unbelievable casualties.

SECRET 1 – The LPU Day

Try once a month designating a Low Power Usage Day. Get the family, spouse and roommates involved. If you live alone, no excuses.

8 RULES to LPU Day:
1) Share this on FB (or your fave social media) so it’s not just you trying this.
2) Except for Fridge, Stove and those Large appliances and your phone, unplug or switch power bars off, AND  don’t use electronics or any plug-ins unless truly essential (or see electric panel better alternative below).
3) Leave phone plugged in but leave it behind, don’t initiate its use. Talk to people face to face. Don’t use it for email or as your computer, and…
4) Don’t use your computer for one day. If working consider planning a paper reading and in person meeting day if possible.
5) Don’t watch TV… Yes, no screen time. Consider a book day.
6) Designate only two lights you are allowed to turn on and off all day and night, and turn them off after using. Make sure you get more natural light in your rooms by opening curtains and blinds all the way.
7) Don’t use your car or a car. Stay home, walk or ride a bike, car pool or bus. In that order of priority.
8) The day before you do this tell people so they know you are offline and can support you and be inspired by you.

What I learned when I did my first LPU day lead to…

SECRET 2 – KNOW YOUR ELECTRICAL PANEL

Can Knowing Your Electrical Panel Save the World?

I have known for years that cutting out extra power by unplugging electricals (yes, everything has a low level drain when plugged in), especially all those f**ing extra electric clocks no one asked for on their appliances, can reduce global energy consumption quickly by 10%.  That is a lot of energy for stuff we are not even using. My problem? A lot of my plugs are behind furniture, on the ground and I don’t even know how to get to them. Frankly, I hate unplugging, enter the electrical panel.

If you are living in an apartment and during your work week you are not in your apartment a lot, this is the SECRET for you. But even if you are not this is a big wake up. Most people’s electric box, or fuse box, is within a few paces of when they enter their suite. If you get to know it you can conveniently save power you are not using everyday. I figured out that I only need THREE of the 17 switches on when I am out of the house. The refrigerator (for obvious reasons) and the lights that I need to get to the electrical panel. On my panel they are at the top of the panel and I have marked them with Xs ( see photo). Out for the day, I snap all but those three switches off. Yes, my modem and WiFi go off and it never has had trouble rebooting. it is like a voluntary power outage.

Even if you do as I do, and work at home during the day, I still have errands when I go out for an hour or more when I can shut it off easily. And, I still do my LPU day. And, don’t all of us go on vacation? THIS, LIKE EVERYTHING, IS A MATTER OF DEVELOPING A NEW HABIT.

SECRET 3 – LOOK INTO WHERE YOU CAN ADD SOLAR POWER TO YOUR LIFE

I am putting solar panels on my second residence in Mexico so I am entirely off the grid there. I am already using solar water heaters and other solar out door lighting.  I am putting a proposal in front of my strata in Canada to put solar panels up on the roof of our apartment building. It is estimated that it can pay for 20% or more of the buildings common area power. And up to 100%  if they implement a hall lighting system that is motion activated. Why do we have our hall lights on day and night for virtually no one? Motion sensors that make lights go on as soon as it sees the elevator or apartment doors open, or any motion in the halls, work. Europeans have been doing this for decades. We do have the technology, we are just exceptionally unmotivated. Time to do these things. Try this government link or just Google it for your area. Write a letter to your strata, or look at improving your own residence. The costs of solar are going down in price like crazy.

SECRET 4 – GIVE TO CHARITIES, NGOs or POLITICAL PARTIES THAT ARE MAKING THE CLIMATE CRISIS A PRIORITY

It is no secret that corporation, whose interests are often short term and greedy, are often strongly influencing government politics and keeping us in a do nothing significant pattern. If you are not aware of who is taking money from whom and how it is destroying our planet in the name of greed, you first need to become aware. I refer to this article from The Walrus that tackles this problem in Canada (but refers to the US too) as the beginning of your awareness, and why you have to look at both individuals ethical records, as well as their parties. The Green Party is an obvious choice for this war, but I never stop there. I support charities and causes that I have researched for the best reputations. Here  are some of my non-political party choices for saving the planet and I have starred the ones I give to, because they are not in order of best and some are not so internationally friendly for donations to Canadians as well as US citizens:

1.  https://www.c2es.org  Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions
2.  https://citizensclimatelobby.org   US
3.    https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org   Fighting Trump govt and Corporations that threaten the planet legally
4.    https://www.edf.org  Environmental Defence Fund
5.   https://www.sierraclubfoundation.org
6.  https://www.ucsusa.org  Union of Concerned Scientists.
*7.  https://www.greenpeace.org/
*8.  https://earthjustice.org  Also fighting on legal grounds on all health issues
*9.  https://www.ippf.org/ Planned Parenthood International – Less people, less footprint
*10. avvaz.org. For making people aware of all kinds of devastation and fighting with petitions and legal organizing
*11. https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/  Rainforest Alliance, saves the Amazon and other forests because our biggest hedge against Carbon is trees.

SECRET 5 – DON’T LET CLIMATE CRISIS DENIERS GET AWAY WITH IT

This is a personal one that I don’t expect most people to follow, but I did describe myself as a resistance fighter, and if that title appeals to you and you are inspired by my pluck, go for it.

I think it has gotten to the stage where we need to shame the climate crisis deniers. The ones who have been keeping us in the do nothing holding pattern while they see category 5 hurricanes and out of control wild fires and unheard of floods into Manhattan and other areas there have never been floods for several centuries or ever, ice caps melting,  etc, etc. Let them know they are a denier and 99% of scientists agree that we are in a serious climate crisis that we have caused and make worse every day. The deniers have only 1% psuedo scientists or sell-outs on their side and whosoever’s BS they are quoting is BS.  I often say, “Follow the money.” You will find that these people are backed by other corporations with interests to harm not help, and the corps are getting rich as well as the people these deniers have bought as “experts.”

There it is, my five secrets (for now) for saving the planet ( again).  I would love it if you would join my quiet army, quietly. It’s important for you, your children and your grand children and all the beautiful creatures of the world. And you get to call yourself a bad ass resistance fighter.

Important books from Authors I have worked with that inspire Companies and Organizations to do better by the planet! Please give as gifts:

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