Monday, July 4, 2011
July 4th: Power Off!
Most of us spend 4th of July outside with loved ones, enjoying an ear of corn on the cob and a slice of watermelon to celebrate our freedoms. Meanwhile inside our homes sit humming cable boxes, always at the ready. Last week, the NYT cited cable boxes as our nation's number one energy drain: not refrigerators, not lights, but cable boxes, which often sit unused for great percentages of the day. My cable company gave me three boxes as part of my package, and I can say there are two that sit there in the 'off' position for days on end, simply functioning as clocks. The Times reports that even in the off position, these boxes still pull tremendous amounts of energy. True, they could have been made to be more efficient by cable companies, much like their European counterparts, but no, US companies didn't think to do that, assuming the American consumer wouldn't tolerate waiting for their box to boot up as their computer does. Instead, the boxes suck energy, driving us to consume more resources for no real reason. Why does it require government regulation to get companies to do the right thing? If and when the government says, hey, wait a minute cable folks, we did away with antenna broadcast airwaves, at LEAST make these boxes energy efficient, the corporations will cry, oh no we hate big government, we can regulate ourselves, and now we'll have to charge more to our customers to redesign and replace these boxes which now need to be tossed in the landfill. What, the cable company didn't know there was an energy crisis? Must have been watching the Casey Anthony trial that day.
Anyway, for my patriotic duty, I have put my cable boxes on power strips and off they go-- freedom from consumption.