Yes, hippies, we know that we can "save the world" by merely giving up all of the things that make modern life worth living. Thanks for reminding us that we can save lots of greenhouse gases by simply walking the 13 miles to work in the middle of the damned summer. We'll get right on that.
Though to be fair, a huge chunk of the damage we're doing to the world is due to things you probably didn't even know you were doing. For instance ...
5A Massive Amount of Power Goes to Gadgets You Aren't Using
Most of us have a weird double standard when it comes to using or wasting electricity. You'd never leave your refrigerator open or your front door open in the summer when the AC is running. And you'd be regarded as a crazy person if you left your oven on at all times so you wouldn't have to wait for it to preheat if you wanted to cook a pizza.
"I like to eat a baked chicken every hour, on the hour."
But everything from your computer to your TV to your Blu-ray player does something equally crazy, and they're probably doing it right now.
The Horrible Downside:
Two words: Vampire energy.
Not to be confused with its mortal foe, werewolf energy.
Most modern devices are like your computer -- they don't turn all the way off, they just go into sleep mode, either because it makes them start up faster the next time or because they have little blue lights on at all times to make them look cool. As long as these devices are plugged into a socket, they suck the teat of Mother Electricity, little by little, 24 hours a day.
But honestly, how much power can that really be? It can't really take that much to keep your sleeping computer alive or your TiVo on standby for when it wants to record something. Right?
With all the extra seconds you save not unplugging things, you'll be able to write an extra six Facebook messages per year!
Actually, the "vampire drain" of your various plugged-ins accounts for up to 10 percent of your home's total power usage. That's more than $3 billion per year out of our pockets. "Our" doesn't mean "the government" here, either -- it means you, personally. Experts estimate that the average home loses around $200 per year because of the phenomenon.
And if you think the monetary part is nasty, wait until you see how downright ugly things get on a planetary scale. Vampire drain isn't just sneaking five bucks off your wallet for a Big Mac every now and then. Machines that leak power all the time pollute all the time. Vampire drain is responsible for 100 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions every year, an amount that would take 10 million cars to fart out. It is estimated to account for up to 40 percent of the energy used for home electronics ... and it's on the rise. By 2020, some estimates expect the cost of vampire drain to hit 20 percent of our national power use.
That's every nuclear power plant in America keeping your iPhone topped off.
Think about that the next time the government is going on and on about spending billions to replace 20 percent of the power plants with renewable energy by 2020. All of that power will be sucked up by gadgets that aren't actually doing anything.
And that's not even mentioning the other idle energy wasters -- to just name one, think about the many office buildings, where useless nighttime lighting and air conditioning fight a never-ending war that benefits no one, yet manages to piss away 38 million tons of coal every year.
There are three people inside that building right now.
Or those open display refrigerators most supermarkets have. While the ecologically frozen cheesecake we have a hankering for is certainly easier to grab when there's no pesky doors to open, the energy they waste amounts to leaving your fridge open all day -- if you had dozens and dozens of fridges. It's 1,550 tons of carbon emissions per year. Per store.
Oh, and the things cool down the building so much that they force the heating systems to waste even more energy as they try to heat it up again. With the simple act of adding some doors, most supermarkets could reduce their energy consumption by up to 68 percent. But that would be a deterrent to customers who don't like to have to slide glass to get to their frozen pizzas.
"Fuck that noise. Hand me a mallet!"