I Finally Get It

Posted by Michelle Crawford

Do you ever watch TV and see the same commercial 20 times before you really pay attention to the message it is trying to convey? Well, I always watch CNN when I get home from work to get caught up on the day's events and always see a commercial about a young girl that has a cell phone in her pocket. The phone starts ringing and she nervously shifts her weight from leg to leg and acts like she doesn't hear the phone. Suddenly, she gets the phone and throws it against the wall behind her. She then acts like she never had the phone in her pocket. At the end of the commercial, a voice comes on and says “lose your excuse.” I never really paid much attention to the commercial until I became aware of
phantom energy. Ah - now I get it - that is what the commercial is about!

When I was younger, I remember my parents assigning us the duty of “Light Patrol.” The purpose of this chore was to go around to each room and turn off the lights, curling irons, and stereos that didn't need to be on. I remember a couple of times where I felt the light shouldn't be on, but my parents felt differently. I would hear a shout to “turn it back on” if I left them in the dark. When I would do light patrol, I would get a small allowance. Luckily for me, I was very busy going room to room since we had a family of seven. We were doing this to lighten the blow of our power bill – never did I think I was also doing this to save energy.

The other night I was sitting watching CNN and the commercial came on again. This time, I paid attention and realized it was a commercial that promotes energy awareness. The commercial ends with listing a website,
www.LoseYourExcuse.gov. The site is published by the U.S. Department of Energy and targets two audiences – children and their parents. It is an interactive website that conveys a lot of information through fun characters, games and other types of interactive tools. It immediately engages the viewer when they land on the site and gives the right amount of information to help your household become energy efficient. It has a printable Energy Action Plan that gives you ten tips to reducing your energy consumption.

I now have a family of my own, with only three of us. My son is two years old and he now able to reach the light switch. Without even asking, he is our “Light Patrol” and never forgets to turn off the light when we leave a room. When he reaches the age of having a cell phone, alarm clock and other such necessities, I hope he will partner with me to form the “Energy Patrol Team.”