Kim O'Hara wrote:If you're reading this at night, stand up and walk around the house/apartment/whatever. If a light is on in an empty room, turn it off. That's one!
Decreased electrical consumption by consumers will mean a price decrease which facilitates increased long-term use as others find productive uses for that spare energy at a reduced rate.
This is related to how technological efficiency actually increases consumption over the long-term rather than decreasing it. It is called Jevon's paradox.
If you're reading this in the middle of winter with a heater going full blast, turn it down and put on a sweater. (If you're reading in the middle of summer with the aircon going full blast, turn its thermostat up and take off a sweater.) That's two!
The same principle applies here, too. In any case people taking off or using sweaters isn't going to make any impact on industrial energy consumption.
And so on … most of us have been told these things before, haven't we? They do work and will make a real difference if enough of us do them - and even more difference as our example spreads until this thinking becomes the new normal.
If energy is available to be consumed at an affordable rate, societies will consume it.
If you want people to decrease energy consumption, you need to heavily tax it and make it unaffordable to waste, but then that leads to economic problems and the masses upset with over taxation.
And don't you dare say it's futile!
I think it is futile. We're living unsustainable lifestyles that damage the planet, and putting on a sweater instead of using the heater is a drop in the bucket that does not even begin to address the problems. It might make people feel less guilty for wrecking the planet with their decadence, like clicking "like" on a Greenpeace Facebook post.
I believe the system will runs its course. Fossil fuels will be used up, the planet will cook and as resource limits kick in human population levels will decrease given the hard limits. Resource wars are already being fought and this will only amplify over time. Much of our social complexity will unravel leading to a loss of advanced technologies as they become unaffordable and irrelevant to people scraping by as subsistence farmers like they did before industrialization. As darkness descends over the land and extreme heat and floods ravage once fertile lands there will be great suffering as the sting of kaliyuga becomes more and more pronounced.
If you think that's delusional, just think about how much energy industrial civilization needs to sustain itself and where most of it comes from. It comes from fossil fuels, the consumption of which is leading to horrific climate change. There are no alternatives to concentrated solar energy in the form of oil, coal and natural gas, though these substances when burnt are disrupting the atmosphere and warming the planet.
Once the fossil fuels become unaffordable to extract and energy availability rapidly declines the reverse of industrialization will occur, but in the new environment of rapid climate change and all its ill effects.
This is what kaliyuga looks like unfortunately.
Okay, we can't stop bad things happening - but we can reduce them. We have a simple choice: we deploy every single wedge we can find, as quickly as we can, or we make life worse than it need be for everyone alive in ten years, twenty years, fifty years from now.
We're already borrowing from future generations who can't protest.