Japan

We had a wonderful weekend of celebrations here at home, but in the back of my mind, I kept thinking of Japan.  I have visited Tokyo (pictures are from a 2008 trip) and found it to be at once vibrant and serene.  Japan is full of contradictions like that – at once ancient and modern, loud and quiet.  My prayers are with the people there.

There is a replica of the liberty bell in the Hibiya Park (where some of these pictures where taken.)  The inscription on the plaque reads “Dedicated to you, a free citizen, in a free land…”

As a renewable energy proponent, I spend a lot of time thinking about nuclear power.  My thoughts on this are complex, and far from clear-cut.  The safety risks seem insurmountable, but so do the long-term effects of breathing the pollutions from other types of power.  I am aware of the issues surrounding the long term storage of spent fuel, just as I am aware of the mountain top removal techniques used to mine coal.

As I said, complex issues, that I do not feel qualified to judge.  I have read some interesting articles about these issues in the past few days, and thought I’d link to a few.  More knowledge is always helpful.

Why I Am Not Worried About Japan’s Nuclear Reactors

Explanations of several terms used on the news

The Case For and Against Nuclear Power (Wall Street Journal 2008) While this is a little older, the analysis is still good.

Is Nuclear Power The Solution To Our Energy Needs? (Huffington Post 2010)

I’ll update this post with more links as the debate continues.  In the meantime, here’s a much more immediately important link.  Please join me in blessing others in their time of need.

Red Cross

Energy Savings

Can you believe it is February already?  My theme for this month is finding meaningful work.  I am lucky to work in an industry I really believe in – renewable energy.  Of course my job has its fair share of tedium, political battles, and other blah, but for the most part I am excited about what I do.

I recently visited a geothermal plant in Iceland, and loved what they have accomplished.  Of course geothermal energy is not without challenges, but it was amazing how clean and beautiful the power plant was.  (I”m such a nerd.)  Since there are no active volcanoes or geothermal plants near my home, I think about reducing our energy consumption a little more.  Here are some ideas for finding meaningful work around my house this month:

  • Research a cover for our water heater (I was told this type doesn’t need it but would like to verify.)
  • Check that the temperature is set to 120 degrees
  • Redo the insulation around the storm door – we installed too much insulation and the door doesn’t close well.
  • Clean the coils on the refrigerator
  • Put more electronics on power strips and get in the habit of turning the power strips off.

With the baby still so young, we have been keeping the house much warmer than we used to pre-baby- but we do use a programmable thermostat and keep it as low as we can.

Small changes, but hopefully meaningful.  If you want to learn more, check out www.energysavers.gov.  What are your best energy saving tips?