It is sweltering in Ottawa these days. Trying to work in this sticky heat is like trying to push boulders through sludge. So as the current heat wave nears record levels, our energy consumption soars. When I open the windows at night to try and get some cool air, all around I hear the whir of air conditioners. And even though I hate doing it, we've had to turn ours on a few times.
It's not on the coldest days of the year that we burn the most fuel, it's on the hottest. The government optimistically says it hopes to avoid rolling black outs, but if the heat continues, I don't think we should be surprised if we exhaust the energy grid.
Gloom and doom. I'm just finishing Jared Diamond's Collapse - and if I wasn't already depressed about the state of the environment and global warming, I certainly am now. We are not only exhausting our energy sources, we are destroying our forests, our oceans, our air, our water, etc...
But this is why, in the middle of all this pessimism, when we find something to cheer about we should make sure to cheer extra loud.
Stopped at our local Loeb grocery store on the way home Sunday night. A small sign on the door said the store was reducing its energy consumption by using only half the interiour lights. Not only is this great news from the environmental perspective, but it was also much more pleasant to shop under gentle lighting - instead of the usual harsh glare of grocery and department stores.
Wouldn't it be great if more stores adopted a similar policy? Switched to energy saving bulbs and turned off half their lights? Sometimes I feel like my small measures of turning off lights, recycling garbage or washing dishes by hand become worthless compared to the big box stores with 24-hour bright lights and overflowing garbage bins.
So I wrote to the Loeb today. Raised a little hurrah and congratulated them. I hope that they make this a permanent decision. I hope other stores follow suit. And I hope we all cheer them on when they do.