Green Schools

Watching Jericho and imagining living for three months without power, is a strong reminder that energy is precious. We should not waste it. We should do everything in our power to conserve it and find new ways to create it. So this morning while watching the news, I hear that President Bush plans to veto legislation to upgrade older schools to make them more energy efficient. Why? Apparently he feels that it would not be 'fiscally responsible'.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has information and further links to this legislation on her website. Read it. Does this sound 'fiscally irresponsible' to you? Those words from our President make me angry. Why wouldn't we want to make our public school buildings more energy efficient? Is it too expensive? It's expected to cost $20 billion. Yes, billions. That does sound expensive to me. But wait a second.... How much have we spent on the war in Iraq? Not billions but trillions. This continues to mystify me. We are able to find (or borrow) trillions of dollars to wage war in another country and to rebuild that country but twenty billion dollars for our own country is too expensive.

What's wrong with this picture? What is wrong with my government? What's wrong with me and my fellow citizens? Why are we letting this happen? The phones should be ringing in Washington, D.C. Mail should be delivered by the bag full. Email boxes should be filled to capacity. We should not sit idly by while our President vetoes this legislation. Write or call the members of Cress who represent you and let them know that any veto must be overridden. Too often we blame our Senators and Representatives for voting for or against pieces of legislation but how often have we written and told them how we want them to vote? The Internet has made it much easier for us to communicate with out government. Let's use the power at our fingertips to make a difference. Start here to find the members representing your state and district.

As I've been studying solar and wind power, I've learned that the first thing to do is cut your energy usage by making the building more energy efficient. In homes this is usually done by replacing windows, sealing ductwork, and adding insulation. So why doesn't President Bush want to make our public school buildings as energy efficient as possible? Is there some hidden agenda here? Are the right companies not in line to make money from this deal? Is greed getting in the way of common sense? Should we start looking for the money trail? Maybe it's just ignorance about the physics, renewable energy (and the fact that oil isn't considered renewable) that makes President Bush think that we can continue to do the same things and have different results in the future. The oil supplies aren't going to last forever. We have to start to make changes NOW! We cannot wait until the world is fighting for the last dregs of oil to begin converting to renewable energy. We've got to start now.

We have to begin educating people so they understand the benefits of these renewable energy sources. What better place to do that than in a school? When children attend a green school powered by alternative energy, they see these principles at work everyday. It's the way life works for them. They can see the solar panels that generate power for the lights. They are taught the principles of recycling and reusing on a daily basis. It becomes habit. A good habit.

While the Green Schools Bill would cost billions to implement, it's billions invested in this country. The citizens of this country were the ones who were taxed to obtain those billions and who will be taxed in the future to pay back any loans and interest. Isn't it about time that we started investing in America again? The housing industry is in a slump. Housing construction has slowed and stopped in some areas. Why would our President veto the opportunity to put people to work? When people have good steady jobs, they spend money and the economy benefits.

I, for one, am tired of feeling second rate. I pay taxes. I'm a citizen of the United States of America. I want my government to invest in America. I want our children to attend schools that aren't crumbling, leaking and growing mold. It's time for the citizens of this country to start telling our politicians how to run this government. We've spent too many years sitting around letting the politicians run our government. We complain about the government and the politicians but how many of us have taken the time to write, call, or email our politicians to express our views? WE need to take action and take control.

This is a great opportunity to start moving our nation away from it's dependence on foreign oil and oil in general. If we make buildings more energy efficient, we use less fossil fuels to heat and cool them. If we add solar panels, we take an even bigger step away from our addiction to oil. Yes, I said addiction. We are so dependent on the way things are now that we're unwilling to give it up for something new. Oil is our drug of choice whether for our cars, power plants or homes. We need to get into rehab. How about we start with the rehabilitation of our schools?

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