America is addicted.
We are so used to our comfortable way of life. It is much easier for us to drive ourselves to work instead of tacking 10 minutes on to our commute by taking public transportation.
It is much easier for us to do things on our own schedule, instead of offering to carpool with friends or co-workers and maybe being slightly inconvenienced by waiting for five minutes.
However, what is easier is not always smarter. Since energy prices began their upward rise, which has only recently been diminishing, people are finally realizing that the easier choice in the short term is not the best choice in the long term.
We have an obligation that is coming to the surface to look beyond ourselves and make personal lifestyle changes to release America from its addiction to oil.
A few years ago, renewable energy was a relatively new word. Now, however, it seems as though everything is making an effort to "go green" and doing it personally in your life is inexpensive, easy, and respectable.
There are a number of different types of renewable energy that can be used to power one's home, for example. The most prevalent is solar power, which converts sunlight directly into electricity through photovoltaic cells, often placed on the roof of a house.
For us in New England, this is the most efficient form and also pays back the fastest. However, there are other options that include wind energy, solar hot water, geothermal, and hydropower. While the initial set-up costs may be high, the long-term savings more than make up for it.
Additionally, while an oil well may go dry after a few years of pumping, the sun will never stop shining and the water will never stop flowing. Also, installation of such systems is affordable through Massachusetts programs that include Commonwealth Solar, a rebate program from Gov. Deval L. Patrick for solar panel installation, and allowances for lower sales tax and income tax payments.
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