#1.) First and foremost, curb your energy appetite. This may be easier said than done, but as we are seeing in many areas, stepping up to the task is getting easier and less expensive. We just bought a used Prius for $6,000 that will save us over 19,000 over the next ten years if fuel prices remain steady. As they rise, our savings will as well. LED lighting offers a unique opportunity to save even more than the 60% reduction that compact fluorescent lights offered in the marketplace. I know a few people who bemoan the compact fluorescent bulbs because they contain mercury and deserve special handling as hazardous waste. Although this is an added cost to their use, the reduction in energy use offsets the burning of coal at a rate that makes the mercury contained in the bulb less than what would be spewed into the atmosphere through the wasted energy that coal burning is required to produce. The numbers, when you look at them critically always come down on the side of purchasing the most efficient products available, so that long-term energy costs go down. Start thinking of your energy budget as a hole in your bank account that drains out dollars like a sieve. tightening up our use characteristic has the added benefit of reducing our carbon footprint and helping to ameliorate the trends that we now call global climate change.
#2.) Revisit the difference between wants and needs. The current worldwide economic slump has gotten many of us to begin to recalculate the value of time with family or taking care of our selves and this is having huge impacts on the wealthiest and most powerful people around the planet. They will be doing some of the same assessment and perhaps they too will find more healthy and efficient ways to get their needs met as well. We really only need food, water, shelter and love. If we spend too much time pursuing wants, it rapidly accelerates the cost of our lifestyles and can impact the ability to meet out more basic needs.
3.) Join a make group or community tool co-op, share your production space if you are an artist, or let someone use that extra room or two that you have to heat and cool anyway so that others can benefit from your extra space. Many people have more house than they can use. Take the time to understand the true cost of the space that you use. Similarly, re-think the need to have one of every toy that may only get used once each year and compare that to the joy of sharing that resource with friends and family so that others might also enjoy your blessings.
4.) Consider the greater community as yourself. If there are things that need to change, get involved and stick your neck out for what you believe in. The whole idea behind democratic values is that we all deserve the right to express what we believe in and we all have the responsibility to be good citizens. Part of that is participating. We may be the greatest resource on the planet, but we will never know unless we reach out and join with others into a community. forgetting to do our part, or getting disillusioned to the point of isolating ourselves only assures that evil rulers will continue to lord over us, circumscribing our freedoms and tightening the noose that strangles our human rights.
5.) Rest, relax and be happy. Without the recharge of our batteries that comes from occasional rest and relaxation, we will continue to hold the stress that comes with continual fighting and toil. The wealthy don’t need us to be that much more productive, they have virtually all the marbles to begin with. As was said this week at the Democratic convention, the wealthiest among us were born on third base and think they hit a triple. The people who have made their privilege possible sacrificed their lives so that the rich could wear diamonds, they are the true philanthropists, giving without limit for the wealthiest class. Think what changes would come about if we spent that effort making each others lives better instead of shifting wealth ever up the ladder of class.