We know we must reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, but some of us still believe that reducing our carbon footprint means sacrificing our lifestyles. Alternative energy need not be about sacrifice. Instead, alternative sources such as clean solar, wind and geothermal simply replace dirty energy.
But, thinking our lifestyles will be affected, we drag our feet instead of taking action now. Fossil fuels still dominate the energy industry, and taxpayers subsidize them. In 2022, countries provided $7 trillion to the industry globally. The U.S. reportedly uses $20 billion of taxpayer money toward this bill. How counterproductive it is that we are trying to reduce the use of fossil fuels but still make sure the industry continues.
If the economy will suffer without this ongoing production, maybe we should take a lesson from agricultural practices. When farmers produced too much corn, some were paid not to have a crop. Perhaps we should pay the fossil fuel industry not to drill.
Despite the Inflation Reduction Act and its many incentives to switch to alternative energy, change is slow to build momentum. Yet those who take advantage of this program are reducing their carbon footprint without any sacrifice. When I switched from fossil-fuel energy to solar power for electrifying my home, my lifestyle did not change. If anything, my disposable income increased as my electric bills decreased.
Similarly, friends who now drive the newest electric cars just changed one means of transportation for another. They lowered their carbon footprint with no change in their travel plans.
Some claim cooking with gas is much better, while others admit they really aren’t good enough chefs to notice much difference. But what they do notice is that statistics show us childhood asthma increases in homes with gas stoves.
As far as yard maintenance goes, lawn mowers have not changed their combustion technology while regulations have demanded that cars do so. Electric lawnmowers work just fine. Also, leaf blowers not only destroy pollinators but also use gas inefficiently.
Our climate is getting hotter and hotter because of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We need to wake up and act now.
Susan Nugent is a Climate Reality Project leader from Gainesville. This opinion piece was distributed by The Invading Sea website (www.theinvadingsea.com), which posts news and commentary on climate change and other environmental issues affecting Florida.