Dump the Pump

The latest Green Team Challenge at work was to try to get to work using alternative means.  (I took the name from a national campaign help a month ago).  The intent of the challenge is to get people take public transportation, ride their bicycle, carpool, or come up with a different fuel saving approach to get to work.  (The average price of a gallon of gas has gone from $2.17 in January 2007 to more then $4 today).


The challenge was help on Wednesday, July 2nd.  I was surprised at the number of people that participated.  Below is a breakdown of the participation:


  • Four people rode the Huntsville Shuttle (public transportation) to work.  One rider commented that riding the bus gave him a whole new appreciation for those that do not own cars in our community and rely on public transportation to get around.
  • Four people car pooled
  • Three people rode their bikes
  • One person walked twelve miles (over Blevin’s Gap) to work and was picked up to go home
  • Four people agreed to drive the speed limit to work
  • One person decided to not come to work at all (most energy efficient award!)
  • One person rode on the back of her husband’s motorcycle.
  • One guy sent this website showing the cheapest price for gas all across the country. (The national gas price temperture further down the site is interesting).


Others wanted to participate but had offsite meetings, or needed their cars to get their children from daycare.  The challenge definitely got people talking about the issue.  As expected in a company of engineers, many of them thought it was a complete waste of energy and that we should be drilling in ANWR.


Here are my thoughts – I am an advocate for energy independence.  We are participating in the largest transfer of wealth the world has ever seen (from all countries to the middle eastern-countries).  There are three paths that we should be pursuing to achieve this independence.  The first path is to use the resources we have in our own country wisely.  Right now we import nearly everything on large tankers.  The threat of oil spill from these tankers is many times that of drilling and piping domestically.  If it is there, we need to look at a way to get it while respecting the environment, but this is only a short term solution – Drilling is not going to save us.  The second path is investing in alternative energy sources.  This country was founded by innovation and innovation is going to get us to energy independence.  I wish we would divert half of what we spend on national defense ($600B) and use it to invest in alternative energy.  The amount we invest in defense is stripping away intellectual resources that could be finding creative solutions for energy.  I bet that if we created a Manhattan Project for alternative energy, we would reap immense advances in technology that will benefit all mankind.  We have to get creative.  The third path is conservation.  It amazes me how many Americans will fight any suggestion to reduce their consumption.  The intent of the Dump the Pump was to get people thinking creatively.  We all get used to our daily routines and sometime don’t realize that there are other solutions right under our feet!


I know the rate of increase in gas prices is making life difficult for many middle and lower class families.  I hope the current energy situation wakes up the creative, entrepreneur spirit that has always been a part of our American culture.  I truly believe that better days are ahead – we just need to wake up and accept the challenge!


1 Comment

Filed under Green Team, work

One response to “Dump the Pump

  1. Matt

    Larry, your positive attitude and forward thinking on this topic serve as an inspiration. Being back in school and focusing on science education I’ve spent quite a bit of time discussing socio-scientific issues with my colleagues and professors (and we in turn hope to have those conversations with our students). Alternative energy sources are a major topic of conversation with us and I agree that we need to invest large amounts of capital in developing these sources. I hate what if scenarios but think about how far ahead we could already be if the billions we’ve spent in Iraq had been at least partially devoted to investigating and developing wind, solar, and nuclear energy sources. I’m not sure if you noticed this last week but a state court in Georgia blocked the permit of a new coal burning power plant in South Georgia. In her decision the judge stated (for the first time in a U.S. courtroom) that CO2 is a pollutant that is banned by the Clean Air Act. This decision could set a precedent that would allow judges around the country to revoke and/or deny permits to build any new coal burning power plants. This could certainly speed the process of searching for new sources of energy. Okay, it’s late and I need to be working on school work. Only 2 weeks left until I’m done!


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