Essay Competition

When I was young, my parents once challenged me to conserve more energy than anyone in the house by encouraging me to wash dishes in a different way. Instead of filling the glasses and pots entirely with water, I was told to let the water trickle easily and roll the dishes under the water. My only real incentive was the extra allowance they would give to me, based on energy savings in the month’s power bill. Then, I only thought about the money, and not about the actual effects of conserving energy and water. Today, people are talking about alternative energy sources, but the real objective is energy conservation. Whether the media are talking about hydrogen cell cars or solar energy, or the government is offering subsidies and tax credits for buying products that use alternative energy sources, Americans are challenged and encouraged, both obviously and covertly, to conserve the energy resources that they use. The American lifestyle has evolved around the invention and subsequent use of the most useful tool of the twentieth century-the automobile. The car has allowed people to travel to places that would be unaccessible to ordinary people under ordinary circumstances. People can now live in quiet and prosperous suburbs and commute to the large cities where employment typically abounds. However, the automobile has also affected the state of families. Families now live hundreds and thousands of miles away from each other, no longer living in the same community where they were reared, near relatives and family friends. Too, the automobile has affected the state of government spending. Millions of dollars are spent every year to repair old roads and lay down new roads to accommodate the masses of people who drive everyday. The car that employs a hybrid engine (combining the energy of a battery and fuel) and the car that employs the hydrogen cell (emitting nothing more noxious than water) are two examples of alternative energy sources that could be used to alleviate the problems like pollution, high-costs, and international disputes that are associated with the use of cars fueled solely by carbon-based fuels. Car companies have realized that there is a market for these automobiles, and there are now at least a dozen offerings from which to choose. However, cars are not the only potential users of alternative energy sources. What of the small-ticket purchases, like energy efficient windows, or reusing plastics instead of recycling?What if there was a tax credit available for every halogen lightbulb a person bought and used? What if there was a government subsidy for living in a city and walking to work everyday? What if congressmen used telecommunications instead of flying to DC every month? What if we all gave a damn and tried our absolute hardest to be the best guardians of our planet? Don’t look at alternative energy sources and energy conservation through the eyes of a child, not realizing the impact of your every waking moment on the life of someone else. Look at the endless possibilities that offer renewal to your home and health to your life.