Charlie Brewer's action
November 23, 2008
Dear Mr. Goodstein,
Ask a child if they would prefer five dollars a week for their whole life, or only a penny the first week, two the next week, four the next week and so on, with the quantity doubling every week. They will probably not be able to resist the lure of five whole dollars, even though simple math shows that the later option will earn more money in the long run. Adults often laugh at the naivety of their children, as they assume they would be able to resist the temptation of immediate savings for long-term rewards. However, this assumption is not in fact true. Renewable energies are expensive to install but cheap to run; eventually savings can be expected to cover the high initial cost. In this example, however, adults have been slow to recognize the long-term savings associated with clean energy because they are blinded by the initial deterrent of the high cost. Otherwise, we would expect to see everybody who believes in the danger of global warming driving a hybrid cars and installing geothermal energy systems. For my proposal, I hope to get families to invest in alternate energy sources to both reduce their energy bills and to protect the environment for their loved ones.
To help make my point, I want to hold a one-day workshop in schools to show young students the reasonability of alternate energy sources. The workshops do not need to be extravagant, but can simply be a couple of students managing a booth at a central location on campus highlighting some of the encouraging facts. In particular I would suggest something as simple as having a computer with a website calculating possible savings from installing a renewable energy source. A good example of a site is http://www.waterfurnace.com/savings_calculator.aspx, which highlights the savings from geothermal systems for a student’s particular house. All the student would need is their home address and they could see how much could be saved from a geothermal plant in a matter of twenty seconds. I believe that showing them the savings that could be expected, and warning them that the earth as we know it is in danger, will be enough to start a conversation at their home about how to help minimize global warming.
I want to target kids to initiate this conversation for two reasons. One, their endless energy (no pun intended of course) makes them great candidates to harass stubborn parents who are probably content to continue to push aside addressing climate change, and two it forces their parents to look at their own kids in the eye and realize who they are harming.
The later point is the one that I hope will be particularly effective about this proposal for just one of the one hundred days of action. If parents hear their kids excited about a renewable energy source, they will hopefully recognize that they must make sacrifices to protect their family. Seeing their children passionate about protecting the environment and in pursuing clean energy sources should motivate parents to invest in clean energy, with the promise for cheaper energy bills and a healthy environment in the future.
Hopefully you can find some room to squeeze my proposal in. I really believe it could be effective in getting families to shift to renewable energies.