I was born a mighty consumer of energy.
The year I was born, my parents bought Amana’s Radarange to microwave my food.
I was two when NASA fired up its first Apollo rocket and achieved Kennedy’s moonshot.
The Electric Company was a kid’s show on public television, and choice real estate in Monopoly.
I grew up in Texas enjoying all of the modern conveniences: summer air conditioning, hot showers, fast food, dishwashers, clothes dryers, heated pools, and gas-guzzling road trips, and the rocket’s red glare.
Energy fueled my red-blooded American lifestyle.
Energy’s value became more apparent to me when I moved into my first apartment. To eat, to have light, heat, and hot water, and to drive my car, I needed to pay for it. My mighty consumption now had a cost. But it was worth every penny. I was hardwired for my mighty consumer lifestyle.
Today, how I spend energy means more to me than what it costs. I think about full cost of my energy when I drive my car to buy food and clothes for my family, plug in my phone, and heat my house. I think about how much energy is used to make and transport everything I buy. I’m trying to use energy more wisely because I know that the energy I spend affects the health of my family, and the world in which I live.
I am still a mighty consumer compared to most and I am changing my relationship to energy. I can switch fuels, and still maintain and enhance my lifestyle. My buildings, machines, and cars can all source and use energy more efficiently.
Since that first microwave came to market and NASA brought a man to the moon, much has happened. My 16 year-old daughter Galina shared with me that NASA has an innovative EmDrive engine that appears to gain intense amounts of propulsion via ambient microwave energy. Supposedly, this could make for spaceships that can gain speed without propellant in the vacuum of space. If it’s true, then this technology would be a revolution in space science and discovery—a way to drastically cut down on the mass of spaceships and keep them going by producing continuous thrust, bringing long voyages closer to reality.
It is also a revelation in the way we think about and manage energy. This EmDrive could someday do more than take me to Mars in 70 short days.
Could it be part of the solution to save my home planet?
While we wait for the EmDrive to reach our lifestyles, we can do plenty down here on planet Earth. Solutions already exist!