I always mention that Bakersfield is 3 to 5 years behind the rest of the world. Today I proved this to be a correct statement once again. While browsing around in the Best Buy DVD section, I ran across “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore. I went ahead and picked it up, now take note that I am “picking it up” three years after it was made and had already been a hot topic around the globe. So, I am speculating that a majority of people in Bakersfield have not seen this documentary yet, based on my 3 to 5 year theory.
This is a must see for everybody, whether you believe in global warming or not. I found the video very well made and packed full of valuable information. You can get a used copy for as low as $6.30 on Amazon. Here is the link: “An Inconvenient Truth“.
Here is the trailer: http://www.climatecrisis.net/trailer/
Director Davis Guggenheim eloquently weaves the science of global warming with Mr. Gore’s personal history and lifelong commitment to reversing the effects of global climate change. A longtime advocate for the environment, Gore presents a wide array of facts and information in a thoughtful and compelling way. “Al Gore strips his presentations of politics, laying out the facts for the audience to draw their own conclusions in a charming, funny and engaging style, and by the end has everyone on the edge of their seats, gripped by his haunting message,” said Guggenheim. An Inconvenient Truth is not a story of despair but rather a rallying cry to protect the one earth we all share. “It is now clear that we face a deepening global climate crisis that requires us to act boldly, quickly, and wisely,” said Gore.
This is a great video. Its 20 minutes long, but worth every minute of it. It really made me think about how wasteful we are as people. There is a lot more to being green then buying solar panels or using a reusable water bottle. Understanding the entire process is very important, and that’s where The Story of Stuff comes in. Please take a moment and watch the video.
Words by Anne Leonard: What is the Story of Stuff?
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
Click here to go to Annes Site and watch THE STORY OF STUFF
A swimming pool is a “must” for surviving a Bakersfield Summer. Nothing offsets a 100 degree Bakersfield summer day better than a quick swim in the backyard pool. But let me ask you a question, do you know how much electricity your blue oasis consumes and the cost associated with this consumption?
The kWh consumption is easy to figure out (Amps x Volts = Watts and remember 1000 watts = 1 kWh), but the cost can range from as cheap as $0.115 or as expensive as $0.410 per kWh depending on your overall home energy consumption and were you fall in PG&E’s 5 tier pricing schedule. Some Bakersfield residents, running a single speed pump, pay more than $350 per month for their swimming pool pump electricity while others frugally only pay $48 per month. I pay $11 per month.
A standard single speed 2hp pool pump motor running 6 hours a day drawing 19.4 amps at 120 volts will consume about 14 kWh. Here’s the math: 19.4 x 120 = 2328 watts. 6 hours x 2328 = 13,968 watts. Convert watts to kWh by dividing total watts by 1000 for a total of 13.96 kWh per day or 418 kWh per month. In the event you operate your pump 12 hours a day and your energy consumption is high enough to enter PG&E’s fifth tier, your cost could be near $342 per month. (Click Read More to Continue)
I would like to take a few and talk about city wide green efforts. What are people in Bakersfield doing to help? I’m referring to the common individual, the “Everyday Joes.” I see small green efforts from time to time; however it’s usually somebody trying to sell me something in the name of green. The overall effort in Bakersfield is very poor.
A recent trip to Monterey really opened my eyes. I was extremely impressed with how actively green it is. I saw so many things that just “wowed” me. It seemed like the people of Monterey were working together as a team. One of the main things I noticed was that nearly everybody was walking around with reusable water bottles, all sizes, shapes, and colors. This is a fantastic concept. People actually using refillable water bottles rather than plastic ones! I even saw a number of walking folks carrying ceramic coffee cups. I would have to say that I was most impressed by the shoppers. It seemed like atleast 60% of the folks were using reusable shopping bags, and not plastic. A lot of the Monterey businesses were proud to show memberships to different green organizations by sporting stickers on their doors and plaques on their walls. Beyond that, I have never seen so many Priuses in my life. It seemed like every other car was some sort of hybrid. All in all Monterey just had a green feeling. It made me feel better inside. It gave me some hope that my hometown of Bakersfield can do it too. But then I had to return home and be reminded of just how far behind we are. (Click Read More to Continue)
I am always amazed at how many people do not fully comprehend their electric bill and PG&E’s pricing structure. Once you understand how PG&E configures residential electric bills, you can effectively begin reducing your overall cost. In November 2008 I began working with a long time friend on cutting his kWh consumption in Northwest Bakersfield. We started by replacing incandescent bulbs with CFL lighting and adjusting his pool pump to winter mode.
I introduced him to PG&E’s online SmartMeter account information to help monitor current consumption and review past usage. I explained to him that PG&E rewards its residential customers with lower rates for lower consumption. PG&E’s billing is set up on a 5 tier system. Here is a snapshot of the winter rates for each tier for the Bakersfield area: (Click Read More to Continue)
PG&E is diligently upgrading its Bakersfield resident’s antiquated electricity and gas meters to new sophisticated SmartMeters. This new eco smart technology gives PG&E the ability to collect usage data without ever stepping foot on your property. Fortunately this data is available on their website, for its customers to view, along with your historical kWh consumption data. It has never been easier to observe your daily energy addiction than now.
Since my home was upgraded with a SmartMeter, I monitor my energy usage online. I use the PG&E website as a tool to understand my kWh draw and as a feedback source after changing appliances or usage habits. There was a time in the past when I took multiple daily reading from my old PG&E dial meter to determine usage, but now I can log into my account and determine my usage from anywhere in the world.
As you can see below, the Smart Meter usage information is compiled on a daily basis and can be graphed in monthly, weekly or daily scenarios for both gas and electric. As an added bonus your kWh usage can be graphed hourly. (Click Read More to Continue)
Have you ever noticed how many people forget to turn their porch lights off during the day? On recent tour of my neighborhood in Bakersfield, I counted 11 homes with the exterior lighting competing with the noon sun. You don’t have to be an eco freak to get this concept. Turn your porch lights off when the sun is shining!
My grandfather Stan used to follow my brother and I around his house yelling, “Why are these lights on? These cost money!” Well, needless to say, I learned that lesson early on in life and it drives me nuts to see people throwing money and resources down the toilet. If it’s yellow let it mellow! Sorry I got side tracked. The only redeeming factor in this energy wasting fiasco is that 8 out the 11 homes with their lights left on had CFL’s. But, come on! Let’s do the math. For arguments sake we will assume that the CFLs are 13 watt bulbs, and the incandescents are 40 watt bulbs. Lets also say each house has 2 lights on. (Click Read More to Continue)