We must all do our part to help the environment. In my little corner of the world, Grand Forks, North Dakota, I am doing my part. Let me tell you about it.
SOLAR POWER: I am currently using solar power to provide the energy needs for five out of the seven calculators that live in the junk drawer in our kitchen. These five calculators create zero carbon emissions. You’re welcome, Earth.
And as for the other two calculators, I am trying to cut back on the amount of math I am doing. I am achieving lowered math emissions by “powering” our household finances with a Visa card – that reduces our dependence on paper checks that lay waste to our nation’s forests and constantly require me to calculate how much money I have in the bank.
WIND POWER: North Dakota is extremely windy. I would like to buy a wind turbine for our house – that would be seriously awesome. But I looked into it, and they are really, really expensive. In the meantime, I have been able to take care of the energy needs for approximately 10 percent of all our household trash removal – and 100 percent of all outdoor litter removal – through the use of what I call “direct” wind power.
Now, I am not a slob, but some one around here, presumably someone just across the border in Minnesota, deposits an enormous number of Burger King wrappers on the ground. I refrain from expending the energy that would otherwise be required to remove the trash by following a “what blows in must blow out” policy. This allows renewable energy resources to remove the litter, and it gives my neighbors a chance to be environmentally conscious as well.
DIRECT REFRIGERATION: When the North Dakota winter comes on, it becomes possible to take advantage of what I call “direct refrigeration” technology. This involves taking things and throwing them out the front door.
Say you have a warm beer. With a sweater, long coat, scarf, wool socks, and a face mask, you can open the front door long enough to toss the bottle into a snow bank. In 180 seconds, it’s frosty and ready to drink.
Or, let’s say it’s Christmas, and your wife just cooked a ham that leaves a quarter inch-layer of residue on some enormous roasting pan. You’d like to put off cleaning it – ideally until late April or early May. How can you accomplish this? Use direct refrigeration.
Last year when I did this, I was concerned I would forget that the pan was out there. But it turns out that’s not a problem. I was helpfully reminded about the ham remnants one day when I saw all the neighborhood dogs digging around and sniffing in the melting snow by the front door. Thanks, guys.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? In the future, thanks to advances in science, I hope to be able to take advantage of still other sources of renewable energy available in North Dakota. We might even achieve the Holy Grail of environmentally conscious North Dakota energy solutions: Snowblowers that are powered entirely by hockey violence.
I can’t wait to find out what tomorrow will bring.
Unless it is more Burger King wrappers to my yard.