Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Using Less Equals More

            After a long day of out working the fields on his Georgia farm, Jimmy Carter sits for a while on the front porch of his modest plantation home. Carter reflects on the day that has passed and thanks the Lord for the many blessings that were brought to him throughout the course of it. A man rooted strong in his beliefs, Carter makes sure to take pride in his work and help improve the lives of others however he can. Raised to be a man of character, Carter does his best to lead by example (Dawidoff 50).
            Carter’s time as a nuclear submarine aide to the captain in the Navy, as well as his time studying nuclear physics at Union College aided Carter in his appreciation for power and furthered his understanding of energy. His time in the military helped him learn discipline and fueled his passion for politics and taking an active role in them (James 1077). Shortly after Carter took over the family farm he began his career in politics and was a very successful state Senator and Governor for the state of Georgia. His trials and successes as a Governor and Senator helped prepare Carter to the challenges he would face as the President of the United States.     
         During his time in office, President Carter was once recorded sporting a cardigan during an address to the American public to encourage Americans, to turn down their thermostats as a way of immediately reducing the country's dependence on imported oil. At the time Americans were dealing with the effects of the Arab oil embargo. The former nu-clear engineer that Carter was knew that lowering energy was impertinent to the nation at that time. Although his call of action was sincere, Carter was parodied for what most saw as a Mr. Rogers moment (McManus 35). Nonetheless, need for energy conservation has only accelerated throughout the years.
         As in the 1970s, the country is still wrestling with air-quality problems and a foreign policy and an economy distressing over oil-exporting nations. Global warming has added urgency to the many dilemmas that our society is facing. President Carter always stood by what he believed and conveyed his messages with conviction and valued truth in all matters. He was one of the forerunners in the promotion of conservation and the helped others see what a great asset it could be for our nations citizens (Selin 22). His dedication to the cause of conservation has been a trait that many Americans and people around the world admire in Carter.
         Many utilities and manufacturers have turned to conservation as well: A utility that helps customers reduce energy demand can avoid the cost of building new power plants. A manufacturer that performs life-cycle assessments on its products, which allows for evaluation of the type of power that the utility supplies its customers, can reduce energy consumption and the cost of raw materials. Carter was influential in calling attention to this type of conservation and he probably could not imagine this level of conservational consciousness in 1977 (McManus 35).
         In the past, some of the biggest efficiency gains followed new federal standards, regulations, tax incentives, and research funding, something Carter was a strong advocate for. A current real life example would be a typical refrigerator. The average American refrigerator accounts for 20 percent of a household's utility costs, which is the equivalent to about one-fourth of the energy, used to operate a 1972 refrigerator model. Current day efficiency standards for appliances generally save consumers $2 to $3 in utility costs for every dollar increase in purchase price. The steps that American industries have taken to make conservation of energy more of a standard for their companies is another dream that Carter pursued throughout his years in office (McManus 35).
         "I have a fetish about being late," (as cited in Dawidoff 50) stated Jimmy Carter in a Rolling Stone interview earlier this year. One of the many other honorable traits that Carter posses is the compassion for others. Carter has always been one to value the small things in life. From the time he was a young boy growing up in Georgia, Carter learned to work hard for what he had and learned that he would reap what he sew in every facet of life. The traits of compassion, hard work and dedication to the many causes he supported have lead to the admiration of Carter as one of America’s favorite but controversial presidents. In his book Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis, Carter writes, “I realize that many readers, even those who share a similar religious and political background, will find some of my opinions to be different from their own,” just another example of the amount of consideration that Carter holds for people that are different than himself (Carter 8).
         According to Dawidoff, a Rolling Stone journalist, Carter is not only admired for his work during his presidency but also for his continual presence in America’s foreign relations. His high level of tolerance for others and the kind southern charm Carter acquired as a young man allows him to speak with others in a soft spoken but directed tone (Dawidoff 50). Carter’s way with words and ability to convey his message in a concerned yet inspiring manner some may say is impeccable, especially for those that saw as a simple peanut farmer from Georgia (Carter 3). Throughout his time as Governor and State Senator of Georgia, Carter was able to build skills and gain knowledge that aided him during his campaign for office and led to the success of that election. Although he was qualified for the position, not all of former Georgia Governor’s experiences were as peachy.
         Although he is a beloved President, Carter was widely criticized during his time in office for the poor state of the economy and was viewed by some as weak in his handling of foreign policy especially in regards to the US embassy hostage situation in Tehran. In Nov. 1979, Iranian student militants attacked the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held members of the embassy staff hostage. Carter’s attempts to obtain release of the hostages were a major preoccupation during the rest of his term. In reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Carter imposed a grain embargo on the Soviet Union and boycotted the 1979 Moscow Olympics (James 1077), which many viewed as unnecessary and child-like.
         Despite some of the presidential hurdles, Carter is still active today in the advocating of world peace and energy conservation and green energy advancement. In 2002, Carter was awarded the Nobel Piece Prize for his work in foreign affairs and the promotion of democracy he carries out around the globe (James 1077).

            From a flip of a switch to the click of a button Americans are used to having everything at their fingertips. The conveniences of life has made many of us forget the importance of conservation and has only fueled the fire of the world’s view of America being a greedy and narcissistic nation. If our nation’s citizens wish to change this perception they will have to take action and change their inefficient ways.
      Due to the depleting amount of landfill space and the unnecessary waste of energy such as oil and electricity I propose that statues made out of recycled goods and made to resemble President Jimmy Carter be placed at all gas stations, city parks, and on every recycling container and at facilities where recycled goods are collected. I feel that the statues will act as a physical reminder to conserve and take action to use fewer resources such as gasoline. The statues will not only be a tribute to the former president but also inspire onlookers of the potential conserving goods can have on the local and world communities.
            Recycling is an easy way for American citizens to start in their campaign to save the environment and reduce the amount of waste. Simply taking a few moments to sort their glass, plastic, and paper products that are recyclable into containers and then take those containers to their local collection sites. Mapping out daily errands to conserve the most amount of fuel and even just packing light when traveling or flying on a plane will do a great deal to conserve energy. Americans don’t need to make big sacrifices in order to do their part to conserve energy (Selin 25).     
The American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has stated that a more aggressive national policy that emphasizes renewable energy sources and efficiency could save a typical American family at least $650 a year (McManus 35). If money can be saved it astonishes me that more Americans do not pressure our state Senators and Representatives are not jumping at the chance to save money especially at a time when our nation’s deficit is at such an astronomical amount. If Americans would just realize the importance of conservation, it could make a world of difference and allow them to keep some change in their pocket and out of the hands of foreign oil suppliers and utility companies.
            My hope is that with the construction and placement of the Carter monuments, awareness of the power and crucial need for conservation will dramatically increase. If Americans can see the beauty and uniqueness that each of these monuments will hold as an inspiration and incentive to do their part in the fight against waste and energy inefficiency. The proposed monument and campaign could also focus on the education of conservation. From planting trees, to installing air dryers instead of paper towels would all do good for our environment.
            To further awareness of the need for conservation, more tax incentives could be given for community members that recycle their glass, plastic, aluminum, and newspaper products. Businesses could even join in on the fun by giving coupons or free items to customers that bring in cans or pop tops to be cashed in. There are limitless possibilities that are just waiting to be unleashed in regards to conservation awareness.
            The most crucial component of this proposed campaign is education of the topic. Making certain that Americans and global citizens throughout the world are aware of the effects that waste has on our world. Whenever recyclable goods are thrown away they are a missed opportunity. That plastic bottle that someone through in the trash when cleaning out their car will sit in a landfill for years when it could have been repurposed as a lamb shade, t-shirt, or piece of art. The possibilities that repurposing products holds is endless, we as global citizens have the responsibility to find them.   
            Another major concern in regards to conservation is the effect on wildlife. The BP oil spill in April 2010 was a tragic event for our ocean’s wildlife. We will continue to struggle with the after effects of this event for many years and for many generations to come. If consumers around the globe could reduce their consumption of oil we could drastically diminish the chances of an event like this to ever happen again. It is truly heartbreaking to know that it takes a catastrophe such as an oil spill in the ocean to wake us up to the reality that our oil dependence is not a good thing. According to Time s Magazine, Somewhere between 90-180 million gallons of oil has been spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from the 2010 BP oil spill (Walsh 25).
            Although recycling can generate environmental and economic benefits, the national recycling rate has increased only slightly since 2000, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (Stephenson 1) I believe through continued research and further development of recycled goods we, as a global community, can reduce the amount of waste, reuse items that would otherwise be thrown away and recycle items to keep them from landfills. With the modern technology that is available today, these types of advances in recyclable materials are a very realistically achievable goal. In order to make Americans see what they can do to help is educate, according to EPA officials (Stephenson 1). If more recycling promotion occurred in public classrooms and more municipal bins for plastics, paper, and glass could be found more recycling would see an increase and landfills would be seeing a well-deserved break. It saddens me to think that there is a limited amount of beautiful land on this green earth and we are filling an unnecessary amount of it with our garbage and garbage that for the most part doesn’t have to be there. As Americans, and as global citizens, we must make a stance against unnecessary waste and protect our beautiful earth from the pollutants of gasoline and garbage waste. This task may be difficult, it may seem at times unobtainable but it can be done. We only have to have determination and a creative mind.  

The picture that I am going to propose for the use in my MEmorial is the image of a tree along with some recyclable goods set out beside it. I believe this type of picture would relay the message of the clean option that recycling provides American citizens.  By providing this type of image for my campaign to promote conservation and recycling I will provide a clean and refreshing image to the face of my campaign to the public, which should in turn result in an increase in participation and awareness of my topic. The slogan I will use to accompany my image will be “Using Less Equals More” to signify that by reducing our waste we will get more from our resources. 

­Existing Monument
After reading my MEmorial, I would like for my readers to visit a National Park that they live close to such as the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora North Dakota. I would like for my readers to enjoy the beauty of our nation’s land or the lands of their own nation. Theodore Roosevelt National Park would be an especially good choice because President Roosevelt like President Carter was an avid conservationist. He worked very hard to preserve the beautiful landscapes of America and established many national parks, national forests, and game and bird reserves across the United States (Roosevelt 443). I believe that if my readers visit a National Park they will be awakened once again to the glory and splendor that our environment provides us with and become inspired by the great people that did so much to keep our nation beautiful. To see the sunset and the stars in the night sky is something few people take time to do. Reminding people that our world is beautiful will help them to see that the one plastic bottle they recycled will make a difference and that the more they can recycle or the more they can repurpose, the more good they can do for the beautiful planet we call home.   

­Existing Agency
I propose that my campaign team up with the Freecycle Network, a foundation that works to reduce waste by building a network of people to reuse objects that others are finished using or no longer have a use for. The mission of the Freecycle Network is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community. If this organization is used I believe Americans will again discover the ease that conserving can be and the wealth of good that it brings to our communities. According to President Carter, when people see that what they do makes a difference they will stay committed  (Carter 5).