Energy Sinners

Posted November 11, 2013

My name is Anne, and I am a light tornado.

I am addicted to brightness. The moment I walk into my home, I turn on every light in the house. A hallway, closets, no light is safe. If my eyes fall on a space, the lights go on. I want to see everything clearly. I need brightness filling every corner of my home, lighting my artwork, Jonah’s strewn-about toys.

Light brings me joy. Real, incomparable, deep down in my soul joy. My attachment to this feeling grows as daylight slips away in the winter months. Each moment I spend in the hooded, diffused, gray light of winter feels like a burden. My only refuse is my indoor light sanctuary.

Worse even still, I leave them on, all of them. I leave rooms feeling complete. Turning off the lights feels like deprivation. Most sinful of all, I have no intention of changing this behavior. The feeling of comfort and well-being is too good, just too good.

My name is Sara, and I have an energy secret, I love my car.

There are times when I would happily drive for no reason other than to have the wind blowing in my hair, the sun shining on my face and a really great song on the radio. I realize that my job as an advocate for wise energy use, and energy efficiency and my love of my car do not jibe.

But did I mention that I love my car? This is my confessional; five reasons why I love my car and why I am okay with that:

  1. I am the daughter of a car guy.  My dad loves cars, he reads MotorTrend religiously, as a child he would bribe me, play quiz games with me, all with promises of cars should I win (never delivered). Cars for me are associated with that love.
  2. It is where I think, where I wind up and ramp down for my workday.
  3. It is the best place to have a real conversation with my kids, especially my soon to be 12-year-old son. Is it the combination of being seated equally? Eyes forward? More time to think? I am not sure, but it is where we have our best conversation.
  4. I have a really great voice in my car, I mean really great. You all should hear me in my car.  It is where I discover new music.  It is where I remember the best moments of my life through songs.
  5. It has heated seats – I live in Wisconsin, also enough said.

So what is the point here?  The point is that not one of us is as eco-good as we want to be, or could be.  We each have things that we could probably be more conscious about. As an industry, we know that we can never expect people to give it all up. At times, our messaging comes across that way.  We need to remember it is about choices, doing a little more where we can and being conscious of our actions, and making up for our “bad habits” in other ways. So love your car, be a light tornado, be okay that you’ve done everything else but just can’t give up plastic baggies, or will never compost, but then do even more on the other side, plant a garden, buy efficient lights and appliances, live in an ENERGY STAR home, shop locally, figure out where you can push farther, so that in the end, you end up eco-ahead.

What is your energy sin?