Conserving Energy: The Bigger Picture

  • Published
  • By By 1st Lt. Naomi Evangelista
  • 51 Fighter Wing Public Affairs
October is Energy Awareness Month, and members at Osan are making every effort to do their part to conserve energy - but not for reasons you may think. 

After reading several articles, e-mails and memos on each base's initiatives to save energy, I couldn't help but wonder, what motivates members here to take that extra step to save energy? Why do they do it? 

To find the answer to this question, I quizzed 30 people on base. I started out by asking what steps each of them take to conserve energy. The answers I got were pretty standard. 

They turn off lights, fans, computer monitors, appliances and anything else that's not being used. They recycle, they barbeque more in the summer and they wash their clothes in cold water. 

Good. Now that I knew that everyone's reading their emails and keeping up with Air Force articles, I asked them the question that was really tugging on my heart. 

Why do you take the extra step to save energy and why is it important? 

Not surprisingly, everyone looked at me, gave me a "Duh, you should know this" look and answered, "Saving energy saves money!" But I knew that deep down there had to be a stronger motive for people to conserve energy other than to just save some dollars. Is that the only reason why you save energy, I asked. I mean, if you had all the money in the world, would you still take the effort to save energy? 

And there it was - exactly the answer I was searching for but would have never thought of myself. The type of answer that gives you warm fuzzies, and I definitely got them. 

What I was told was yes, on a personal level everyone wants to save energy because they know saving energy equals saving money. 

However, on a larger scale, saving energy saves the world. It protects the environment, it serves to foster good relations and it ensures our mission is fulfilled. 

We can't let things go to waste because resources won't always be here for us to use. Everything eventually runs out so we have to do our part to keep our resources available. 

One Airman told me that even though she doesn't pay the water bill (since she lives on base) she still only uses what she needs. "Somebody's paying for it," she said. "Absolutely nothing is free." 

It's our responsibility to understand our role to take care of what we have today. It's an obligation we all have as partners in this community. It's the right thing to do, and it's as simple as that. 

The efforts each of us make, no matter how minute it may seem, compounded together makes a powerful difference. 

You see, it's bigger than just you and me. It's about working as a team to fulfill the mission while being good stewards. 

Keep the tradition going.