Sunday, August 19, 2007

So Many Things To Say...

Every time I sit to write, I feel overwhelmed because I get the sense that I have too much to say and so little space, time or the like to get it all out there. But I will strive to continue sharing my ideas.

Anyhow, in the last post I mentioned Conservation is a bad word. And that was because, in the forum one of the presenters stated so in so many words. I sighed heavily when I heard this because I very strongly disagree with that. But interestingly, another panelist picked up at the end of that statement and added a couple of statements in agreement. Yet the very last statement was a complete contradiction of what was stated that essentially nullified that trend of thought. So, to help beat it to death I raised my hand and stated unequivocally that his last statement says that Conservation is feasible. And he agreed adding more statements in support. Yaay!

A bit later, I asked about cisterns since I didn't hear any mention of it. So, one of the presenters stated that it was not used because it isn't a cost effective technology to deploy. And we were back at one. Conservation is economically feasible; it just needs the right dynamics to be in play. Namely, policy incentives, innovation, entrepreneurial risk taking, etc. Besides, we use it today and it is widely used in Third World Countries. We can't afford them but they can? That's absurd.

Anyways, here is why I take issue with the notion of the lack of cost effectiveness in these issues:

We don't currently pay for resource usage what we really should be paying. That is we are not paying its true cost. We tend to have a specific focus on cost in terms of dollars without regard to the broader implications that comes as a cost. There are abstract costs involved that can also be quantified and are usually left out. This would help the dynamics I mentioned above.

Anyhow, saying that cisterns aren't cost effective is an excuse that skirts the issue. If it isn't cost effective today; it means we can't do it right now or today but it doesn't mean it cannot be done in the future. But more importantly, if we skirt any issue by saying it isn't cost effective then we are simply compounding the problem and delaying the inevitable.

Lets look at it another way. If our troops disagree with any war being fought and decide that their bloodshed isn't cost effective then we wouldn't be the great nation we supposedly are. Their sacrifice is the ultimate and sacred. So too are the contributions of our citizens. So to say that it isn't economically feasible is a sacrilege. A specific focus on cost undermines our ability to enhance the greater good of our community.

We can effect change that could cultivate the dynamic that would make this technology cost effective. In my research, I've come to realize that cost effectiveness is tied to a lack of education & awareness. And so educating the public and building awareness helps to drive the cost down. Another interesting concept is that any technology that is point-of-use drives conservation.

When I lived on a boat, we had to carry 5-gallon jugs of water from the parking lot to the dinghy and then lift it out of the dinghy into the boat. These jugs were heave and it was a task that I deplored. So we found ways to make that water last longer. We would use the seawater to get wet in the shower then follow it with a freshwater rinse to get the soap to lather. Then we'd rinse with the same sequence afterwards. Many of my friends who were landlubbers had to pay attention to how much water they used because they would run out of water if they didn't. I could just go on because there are so many things to say. And the full has never been told.

I speak from experience and acquired knowledge. Cisterns as a point-of-use technology are a good conservation driver. Solar is too. So, don't be surprised to hear anyone talking these forms of technology down. Especially large establishments such as the utilities. Take their words with a grain of salt.

Knowledge is power: Wield it.

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