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Green Again

I just read a book about my �carbon footprint� and decided the phrase refers to an old idea dressed in trendy new shoes.

Readers of this magazine�s The Future of Electricity column will recognize the book�s author, and many of the ideas it describes. Nancy S. Grant�s Your Carbon Footprint: What it is. Why it�s important. How you can lower it covers some of the same subjects she writes about in her Kentucky Living column each month.

You barely get out of bed these days before hearing about Going Green or Measuring Your Carbon Footprint. You�ll certainly get your ear and eyeful in the pages of Kentucky Living as well. That�s because these ideas are all about using energy efficiently, something this magazine and the electric co-ops that publish it have been promoting for years.

Part of The Pocket Idiot�s Guide series, the book offers an easy-to-read background on the huge issue of global warming.

The book explains the big political and scientific debates about climate change in understandable, bite-size chapters and paragraphs. I think few would quibble with Nancy�s useful and evenhanded summaries of the fiercely contested issues.

But the book is really about being more efficient. Or to put it in business terms, increasing your productivity.

Increasing efficiency is not always as easy or clear as turning off the lights before you leave a room, as she points out with a tale of the three pumpkins. You can get your jack-o-lantern fixings for Halloween, she writes, at a supermarket, a farmer�s market, or a pick-your-own patch. You might at first think you�re saving energy by pulling a pumpkin off the stem, eliminating transportation costs. But what about the 20 miles you drove to get there, compared with the truck that brought 400 of the things to a grocery store, using much less gasoline per pumpkin?

The overall message is to think and be informed about your energy choices, and to use energy wisely.

Nancy herself makes the point that this isn�t new by concluding her book with a saying from World War II, when making the best use of our nation�s resources was also a top-of-the-mind matter:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without.

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