Governments and federal authorities are constantly discussing the need to achieve energy independence. This basically goes to achieving the stated goal of eliminating reliance placed on imported oil. The motivations behind this have more to do with improving foreign exchange stresses and trade balance problems with other counties and less to do with saving the environment.
Leaving aside the financial imperatives, we look at what you and I can do, at the individual level to try and achieve energy independence. And if complete energy independence is not possible it is at least possible to reduce grid reliance and eschew polluting energy sources by doing the following:
1. Use your feet
Walk to wherever you can. For longer distances, use a bicycle. I cannot stress this enough – “walking and cycling – great for the environment, terrific for health”
2. Cut down
Quite simply cut down on your energy usage. Does the thermostat need to be quite that high in winter and do you really need air conditioning for those not-so-hot days? Do you really need the extra-large freezer? Is it possible to line dry clothes so you don’t need to use the dryer?
3. Use solar energy
Solar energy solutions are better and more efficacious than ever before. There are tax incentives and federal grants available for those who want to achieve energy independence by installing solar energy systems.
4. Harness wind energy
Harnessing the power of the wind is another way to rely on clean, sustainable and renewable for your energy needs, if not fully, at least in part.
5. Become informed about alternative energy sources
It may be possible to source energy from micro-hydro sources. Also consider if you have access to green diesel, methane energy, alcohol or ethanol which you can use for your energy needs. See if and how you can reuse waste vegetable oil. Is it possible to use fatty algae for your energy needs? Keep yourself informed about the possibilities and new research in the alternative energy sphere.
6. Use electric vehicles
Electric scooter and cars are non-polluting and very non-fatiguing to drive since they produce no vibrations or noise. Or consider mounting an electric motor on your bicycle.
7. Build sustainable homes
Make changes in your home so that it is less energy hungry and easier to heat and cool. Choose more energy efficient and water saving appliances.
8. “Eat” less fuel
Don’t buy processed foods; to the extent possible eat food as close to its natural state as possible.