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Independence from what?


Sue Sturgis' article ("9 ways YOU can achieve energy independence," July 5) shows a healthy change in Indy attitude from the days, not long ago, when the Indy promoted the newest fad of going out to dinner by driving around the Triangle and eating each course in a different restaurant.

Still, the Sturgis article has some problems. On the one hand, Sturgis has set the bar too high. The huge majority of people I know aren't anywhere close to thinking about an energy efficient house; they can't even be bothered to push the little "off" button on their computer screen at the end of the day. On the other hand, Sturgis' article sets the bar too low by encouraging readers to believe that her nine tips will save the Earth. The article states that "you can achieve energy independence." Independence from what? That oversized "GreenHome" in the photo certainly isn't energy independent. It took a huge amount of energy to process and haul all the raw materials that house is made of. Timber, shingles, insulation, skylights, heat pump--were any of these produced by one of the many weakly regulated corporations that are devastating the environment?

The article states that the nine energy saving tips "are more than enough to stem the tide." What a gross overstatement! In reality, environmental scientists agree that we can't predict with any accuracy what the future will bring and when it will bring it. While you don't want to discourage people from greening up their lives, you also don't want to make them feel self-satisfied because they put solar panels on their 4,000-square-foot house. In my book, you get to feel self-satisfied about your contribution to the environment after you've followed all nine of Sturgis' tips, selected to have only one child, divested your retirement funds from corporate polluters, and achieved a level of energy consumption that could be used by all 6 billion people on the planet without causing global warming.

Bercedis Peterson

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