During a discussion with someone I recently met, somehow, the conversation turned to light bulbs. “Oh those awful light bulbs that OBAMA wants us to use”, she said. I was confused thinking there was some new technology that I hadn’t heard of, but finally I asked “Do you mean CFL bulbs?”
“Yes, those awful curly ones”, she continued. “I can’t stand them. I refuse to use them.”
I tried to delicately add to the conversation, pointing out that incandescent bulbs are being phased out and we are all moving to CFL bulbs, that they use 10% of the energy of regular bulbs, and that all these things were in place long before Obama even took office. But, at some point (which was about ten seconds in), I think she stopped listening.
Then, just a few days later on Facebook, a high school acquaintance posted a whole long status update with a bunch of arguments against electric cars. He offered up a lot of math that didn’t really add up, then added “And OBAMA thinks this is the answer.”
I attempted to reply intelligently, using math and reasoning. My comment, as you can imagine, was not well received. It was met with conservative replies, including how my truck-driving high school buddies (hmmm, last time I saw them twenty years ago, they were driving gas-guzzling raised trucks so it seems like not much has changed) could fit my Prius in the back of their truck and tow me to the next charging station – not that I have the electric Prius, it’s a hybrid. But anyway, none of this mattered (the whole factual, math type of stuff). Obama was for it, and I was a liberal-socialist (by the way, I'm not) and they wouldn't consider any of it.
What struck me about both of these interactions is that it really had nothing to do with the fact that these people had tried and had bad experiences with CFL bulbs or had done a lot of homework and calculations analyzing the value of electric cars. It was just that they associated these items with the democratic administration, and therefore, they were having none of it.
And then suddenly, overwhelmingly, it hit me like a ton of bricks – conserving energy has become political. If you are on one side of the fence, energy conservation is an important goal. If you are on the other, it is the liberal, democratic agenda that must be stopped.
After that realization, I think I went into a mini-depression. I put myself on self-imposed, social media timeout. I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt hopeless.
But then, I had a realization. I can make a change. I can speak up. And maybe, just maybe it will make a difference. And even if it doesn’t, it’s better than doing nothing. I can’t just sit by and do nothing.
Because conserving our finite resources and protecting our environment is not a political agenda. It’s a human agenda.
As we head into this political season, it’s going to get ugly I am sure. But in all of the rhetoric, please, please – do not throw out ideas like energy conservation, “green” technology, and renewable energy because you think they are associated with a certain political party.
It has nothing to do with the candidate you punch on your ballot. We all live on this planet. We all have a vested interest in keeping our air clean, our oceans clear of trash, and our environment healthy for generations to come. And now is the time we must act.
So please try to ignore the political rhetoric and focus of the facts. All the math and science point to the fact that, well, it's a fact. Our environment is in trouble and we need to start cleaning it up.
And the small changes you make do make a difference, they do add up to much greater change.
And the politicians on both side of the aisle need to hear that we care about our planet and will vote accordingly.
Whether you are blue or red, please make going green a universal goal that we can all agree on.