"What are you doing to make a difference in our state’s energy consumption?" That was the question each Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) employee was asked during Earth Week by Secretary Teresa J. Hill. Hill invited cabinet employees to share with her steps they have taken to save energy. She shared that her commitment includes carpooling from Lawrenceburg to save gasoline.
The responses came pouring in. By week’s end, Secretary Hill had received more than 100 e-mail messages from employees.
"I was so gratified by the response," Secretary Hill said. "Our employees clearly feel a deep sense of personal responsibility to save energy."
Many respondents said they have replaced their conventional light bulbs with long-lasting compact fluorescent bulbs.
Several others have committed to carpooling. A case in point is Tim LeDonne, commissioner of the Department of Public Protection. He carpools between Danville and Frankfort with two other state employees. Even better for the environment, one of the carpoolers, Keith Tiemeyer, drives a 1984 Mercedes that runs on a mixture of diesel fuel and vegetable oil, thus further reducing carbon emissions.
Other employees noted the health benefits of saving energy. Larry Ibershoff in the Office of Administrative and Administrative Services wrote, "I have decided to walk to work at least two times per week. It is only one mile each way, and at least I will save a couple of gallons of gas and generate a little less greenhouse gases."
For several employees, a personal commitment to saving energy means influencing others to do the same.
Bucky Buchanan, a chemical weapons inspector, reported that he recently met with his church congregation to discuss ways the church could demonstrate good stewardship of resources.
"The church leadership has been very receptive and we just completed our first ‘Dumpster dive’ with Bluegrass Pride," he wrote. "The city has also agreed to provide ‘Rosies’ (trash receptacles) even though the church is not in the urban service boundary."
Buchanan also persuaded his neighborhood association to get involved in a cleanup campaign.
Earth Day is an opportunity to pass along good energy-conservation habits to her two children, said Jenny Kays in the Department of Labor.
"Tonight, we are going to make a tally sheet of each person's name within our household, and each time a light is left on in the house, someone gets a point (or tally) for turning it off," she wrote. "If you turn off your own light, you get two points. By the end of the week, whoever has the most points will win a special treat for the money they save."
Diana Adams, an employee of the Division of Waste Management, lives in rural Hopkins County. She intends to avoid unnecessary maintenance on her land.
"Since the soils on this property are somewhat fragile anyway, we have opted to expand gardens and the presence of indigenous wildlife and creek species and to allow what few grasses and other natural ground covers to grow to appropriate meadow-like heights that exceed what most folks would even dream of allowing in a lawn," said Adams. "We are using old techniques such as hand-digging tree or post holes or simple sod-planting or other no-till methods for vegetable and other plots."
Regina Horine in the Department of Labor noted that taking steps to save energy today is an investment in future generations. She wrote, "We have five young grandchildren and we really want to make their environment clean and healthy and insure that they will have the resources they need to live well."
Earth Day was celebrated around the world yesterday, April 22.