Eddy and I saw a great documentary at the Hot Springs Environmental Film Festival. Called Kilowatt Ours, the film examines where electricity comes from and why it is important that we reduce our electricity use. The filmmaker Jeff Barrie interviews the Appalachian people who have witnessed firsthand the destruction of their mountains due to coal mining. According to one local activist, each day more than 20,000 tons of explosives are detonated to get at the coal in the Appalachian Mountains. In the U.S., more than 450 mountains have been destroyed due to coal mining. Terrible, isn’t it?
Did you know that one-kilowatt hour of electricity requires one pound of coal? The average American home uses more than 900-kilowatt hours of energy per month, which translates into roughly five tons of coal per home per year. In total, the U.S. uses more than one billion tons of coal each year, and coal fired power plants remain the largest source of carbon emissions in the country.
What can we do to conserve electricity, reduce carbon emissions, and help save the mountains? Barrie offers practical steps we can take as individuals, families and organizations to reduce our electricity use. Examples of significant energy savings are drawn from the filmmaker’ s own apartment, from other homeowners, from school districts, cities, and large businesses. And they are inspiring. Two communities in particular, Austin, Texas, and California, decided against building new power plants and instead met their electricity needs by instituting energy efficiency programs. Eddy and I both believe that energy efficiency is the first step in greening our homes, businesses and communities, so we appreciated Kilowatt Ours for stressing the point.
Kilowatt Ours is a must-see for anyone interested in energy issues. Watch it and learn what you can do to help solve the energy crisis!