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.

The price of gas is flat

I keep track of how much I pay for gas. As you can see from the graphic, it’s really variable. However, the past 10 – 12 months, the price has been unusually stable. The red line is a 30 sample moving average.

The numbers for this graph comes from what I’ve actually paid for gas.  Most of the purchases are in the Northeastern Indiana area.

Several online sources blame the great recession on a sharp rise in the cost of energy.   A flat cost probably has the opposite effect of stabilizing the economy. One reason would be that it allows more effective planning by businesses that are dependent on energy prices.

An analysis of the factors leading to this price stability would be interesting to study.

A graph of the prices of gasoline from 2004 to 2017

(The gap between 2009 and 2001 is due to the loss of the file containing that information. I’ve attached a PDF with the same graph.)