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Well, you've made it to one of my places of ranting for one of the most aggrivating things I can't stand of modern society.  The act of wastefulness, and general lack of efficent use of resources...ANY!

Ways we are wasteful quick links!
Water usage
Exterior Illumination

To start this off, I must say that I am a scavenger...a pretty serious one!  A bottom feeder if you will.  The nice thing about living in the US of A is that there is always plenty of perfectly good junk thrown out for me to feast upon!  It is absloutely amazing what people throw away these days just because it's out of style, old, or that they just don't like it!  I mean anything from construction materials, to electronics, clothing...just about anything you can image built, I have, at sometime, probably pulled it out of a trash heap!

Citizens of the United States though are not just wasteful in throwing out useful product, but are totally wasteful in just simple habits. Here are a few that really bug me, will save tremendous amounts, and offer hardly any change in lifestyle:

Water Usage!
We have been in a pretty serious drought lately on the east coast, which means water conservation measures had to be enacted to make sure there is enough to go around.  The biggest waste of water though has been watering lawns and greenery.  The worst part about it is that the locality forces you to use treated, disinfected potable water to throw on the ground!  First of all, I think watering lawns is a real waste, Planting vegitation that grows better with less water is a more thoughtful approach.  Many sprinkler systems are not even turned off around here during rainy days! This is totally unacceptable.  Someone at the business can see that it is raining, and should take two minutes to walk in the utility room, and close the valve! Besides, technology has developed rainfall sensors that will shut down a sprinkler system during rain anyways!

Exterior lighting:

Just simply drive down the main drag through your hometown late at night, and ponder how much wattage all those parking lot lamps are consuming!  Keep in mind, it's late at night, and the businesses are closed! Not only does turning the fixtures off and on when they are actually needed save tremendous amounts of energy, the choice of light fixture makes a big difference too.  Lighting up your neighbor's property, or just simply shooting the light off into space means that light is not doing you any good!  Choose a good fixture with a good reflector that directs the light where you really need it...and TURN IT OFF WHEN IT'S NOT IN USE!! While exterior illumination can make a location more secure, there is an myth that the more light you have, the more security you have,this is simply not true.  Excessive brightness creates pockets of darkness just outside of the lights' reach, and you pass a point of diminishing returns.
Chesterfield county's commercial lighting requirements

Examples of bad lighting!

notice how most of the light is NOT lighting the intended subjects, and is just simply making glare and illuminating locations that aren't
supposed to be lit!

Examples of good lighting

These buildings do not cast any light into outer space, nor do they create glare.  The light is going to it's intended location. Now if we could only get these places to turn them off after they are not needed (notice there is not any foot traffic on the sidewalk!!!)

Check the International Dark Sky Association for more information on light pollution!

The Lodging industry is perhaps one of the businesses that is the most wasteful of any.  I mean, how often do you change the sheets at home?  Well, hotels do it every night, even if the same person is sleeping in the room!  Imagine the energy consumption from washing just one set of bedsheets at home, now imagine the energy consumption from washing 200 or more sheets and towels every day!

One of my favorite magazines is "Home Power Magazine" which shows how many people have contributed to saving power, and generating their own.  It is written in such a way to show that you can use commonly avaliable resources to be more efficent, how to change your energy consumption habits, and how to build energy efficent, and energy producing equipment with a slant toward the home hobbiest, not just trying to sell equipment.

I am sure glad that some people have the generosity to give their only slightly worn or out of style clothing to charities like Goodwill industries and the Salvation Army, becasue that is where I do all my shopping!  Of course, these organizations do much more for society than just re-sell clothing that people give them.  They are absloutley huge charity organizations that help the poor and needy worldwide.  They only survive through the donations of others though!