Making Missouri homes energy independent is good for the environment

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 | 2:53 p.m. CDT; updated 10:57 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Every Earth Day I become very idealistic and enthusiastic that we can come together as a society to change things for the better. The rest of the year, the wet oily blanket of reality dampens my enthusiasm. But there are practical solutions to our problems just at the tips of our nose. Sun and wind.

There are practical solutions to our environmental and energy problems that are good for our economy and our ecology. If we would empower individuals to make wise energy choices, we could go a long way towards solving the toughest problems of our times, global warming and a lack of energy independence.

Think small to solve big problems. The state of Missouri could build a partnership with people to make their own houses energy independent. Alternative energies such as solar panels, windmills and ground-based heat pumps are expensive but will eventually pay for themselves over time. Missouri state government can partner with utilities and homeowners to take the sting out of the initial capital investment. Missouri can sponsor tax credits and no-interest loans in order to allow homeowners to produce their own power. Extra energy can be sold to the utilities making the house a net producer.

Americans consider themselves individualists, but we do come together to solve the great problems collectively when great challenges arise. Empowering individuals to become energy independent would fit our national character and solve our collective problem.

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Mark Foecking May 15, 2008 | 11:36 a.m.

If energy independence is a priority, many homeowners can cut a lot of fat out of their lives and pay for it. Turning off the TV gives one time to walk or bicycle for transportation, saving car expenses. Cooking at home saves the costs of eating out, or premade convenience foods. Eschewing mobile services, cable, and other monthly billed luxuries can free up hundreds of dollars per month.

People just have to want it. For many, it's more fun to live the way they do than make sacrifices that would help make a difference.


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