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Conserving For Uncle Sam

A note on a recent water bill encouraged me to think about how it might apply in the birthday month of the United States.

“Do one thing each day that will save water. Even if savings are small, every drop counts.”

For starters, I’ll use half as much water in the bathtub, turn off the faucet while taking a full minute to brush my not-so-pearlies, and let the heavens water the browning lawn.

Three little steps forward for water conservation. A penny or two for the piggy bank. A lifetime of little savings adds up. As Wordsworth said, “Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours.”

What else?

Do one thing each day that will save electricity. Even if savings are small, every kilowatt counts. In this day and time, frequently it’s a case of taking for granted something as real as climbing up a utility pole and installing another transformer. Where did the energy come from to make it worthwhile to climb the pole, string the line, and make the connection?

So, I say, David me boy, turn off unnecessary lights, add another log to the fireplace in winter, and let the breezes blow through the windows in summer. Give the air conditioner a chance to catch its breath and at the same time give the great American outdoors half a chance to refresh my weary lungs.

Three little steps forward for electric conservation. Didn’t cost a dime for a bigger piggy bank. Individual energy portfolios grow and light the way.

Read a page or two each day from a good book. Even if remembrance is small, every seed of a new thought counts in the universe of original ideas. It could be said, there’s more enlightenment in a book than there is in a comic strip or a crossword puzzle. Or so I believe. Anybody may register an
objection.

A short list of possibilities: the Bible, the collected poems of Robert Frost, the essays of Wendell Berry. Even if there’s disagreement with one or all of these recommendations, there’s nothing to keep an individual in a free and open society from turning the pages of thousands of other reading opportunities.

We’re all on the road quite a bit—miles upon miles of here, there, and everywhere—so maybe we can figure out a way to consolidate a few trips. A gallon of gasoline saved is $3 earned for investing in U.S. savings bonds. Bad investment? In America, it’s the customer’s choice. Simpleminded idea? Then you take your dollar and you put it where you think it’ll do the most good.

As for the grand old man, Uncle Sam’s birthday present, let’s see, how about making sure to vote? Not just for anybody for the sake of casting a guilt-ridden ballot, but only for the most intelligent and especially the most honest candidates in the race. That would mean lighting several candles to put some fire in the enthusiasm for studying the issues of the day. Might even inspire a young man or woman to join the political arena and stand up for what’s right, voting against what’s wrong.

Personal conservation: reduce fear and worry.

Uncle Sam’s birthday will be richer if about 300 million Americans will save one bucket of water, one kilowatt-hour, one gallon of gasoline, read one good book, vote for one or two best candidates, deal with fear, worry, and uncertainty, and stop wasting time.

Poor Richard had it about right:

“For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.”

The United States need not be lost.

A prayer each day would help. Even if blessings are small, every bended knee counts toward standing a little bit taller.

Happy birthday Uncle Sam.

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