Climate change and the coal strike of 1977-78: Turn down the lights

A finger pressing a switch
When you read the history of the 1977-1978 Coal Strike, the reports talk about the negotiations, the rejected agreement and who the losers were in the final contract.

However, the effect of the strike on energy consumption is glossed over.

That year, I was a student at DeKalb High School in Waterloo, Indiana. The school took steps to reduce energy usage. I remember that we reduced lighting in the classrooms and hallways. We changed policies in the cafeteria and took other steps to cut back energy usage.

None of the changes that the school took required waiting for greater availability of renewable energy sources or capital outlays by industry.

Reducing the use of lighting in public spaces will not eliminate the imperative to reduce CO2 emissions. However, it will be a step in the right direction. It can be done overnight and does not need the cooperation of any elected officials.

Turn down the lights. It’s a very visible signal that CO2 emissions need to be lowered. It can be a start and it’s available everywhere.

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