One of my coworkers referred us to a recent op-ed piece in the NY Times about the differences in energy policy between Denmark and the United States. The article reveals some evidence that shows just how low a priority sustainable energy really has been for us over the last thirty years.

I suspect that things aren’t going to change much in the US until people make different choices in their day-to-day living. Good stuff can happen at the government and business level but not until changes start happening “grass roots”. We are the constituents. It has to filter up from here.

So… start a compost bin. Educate yourself on what happens to the stuff you habitually flush down your drains every day. Come up with creative ways to reuse the water that comes out of your taps before you let it go down the drain. Install a greywater irrigation system. Think about the volume of packaging you throw away. Remember the WWII slogan, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” Opt out of the consumer mentality. Think about the amount of electricity you use without really even knowing it (“ghost loads”). Consider the energy efficiency (or lack thereof) of your appliances, particularly your air conditioner and refrigerator. Learn how to harvest rainwater. Walk or ride a bike instead of driving a few blocks. Try not to be discouraged when it seems like nobody else cares.

Of course I’m not doing all of those things all the time and I feel a little like a hypocrite. Living sustainably takes work and thought and I don’t always make it happen. But what would our country look like if more people at least tried?