Did you ever see the Portlandia episode where Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein go to check out a chicken farm? The episode starts with the couple sitting in a restaurant interrogating the waitress with questions about a heritage-raised, sheep’s milk-soy-hazelnut-fed chicken that’s on the menu. “Is it local?” Armisen demands. A flood of questions follow: Is it organic? Are the hazelnuts it ate local? How big is the area the chicken was able to roam free in? This inaugural episode hooked so many of us millennials with its almost embarrassing relatability.
We millennials are used to being mocked for our hardcore support of the sustainable food movement—and we find it hilarious. But we also know that we hold the power to dramatically alter our nation’s food system, and thus the health of the environment, in our hands (along with a beautiful bunch of biodynamic kale from the Farmer’s Market). But while we are well-versed in the sustainable food movement and take care in how we source our food, many of us aren’t as familiar with sustainable energy. Let’s look at how we can apply our sustainable spirit to how we source energy so that we can have an even greater positive impact on the environment.
How We Source, And Why
When it comes to our food and what we deem important, Portlandia pretty much nailed it. Words like local, free-range, and organic are music to our ears because collectively they mean sustainability. So, we seek out sustainable food and vote with our vegan-leather wallets. We frequent Farmer’s Markets, sign up for weekly CSA boxes, and the green-thumbed among us grow veggies in urban garden plots. We feel great because by mindfully sourcing our food, we have the power to do something good for the health of the environment. Now, what if we could take all of these sustainable, environmentally conscious food-sourcing practices and apply them to, say, energy? Well, my friends, we can.
Perhaps you weren’t aware that you have the option to source your energy just as mindfully as you source your chicken. While renewable energy from sustainable sources is a dream for many of us, short of putting a windmill in our backyard or illegally installing solar panels on our rental apartment roof, it can seem inaccessible. But it doesn’t have to be.
Thanks to third party energy providers that sell renewable energy credits (RECs), sourcing your energy sustainably can be as easy and as impactful (actually, more impactful) as buying carrots at the Farmer’s Market. Here’s the deal: in addition to buying energy from conventional sources, like natural gas plants and nuclear facilities, third party energy suppliers purchase power from renewable sources, like wind, solar, and geothermal, and offer it up to you, the consumer, in the form of RECs.
When you purchase RECs, you ensure that one Megawatt hour of renewable energy (a little more than the average household’s monthly usage) is being produced, bought, and fed into the power grid. Buying RECs doesn’t mean that your house specifically will be powered only by renewable energy, as that just isn’t possible with the way the grid works. It does, however, mean that an equal amount of energy is produced from renewable sources. Just think, a wind farm in Pennsylvania could be helping to power your home or your neighborhood. Pretty cool, huh?
Increasing the Demand for Sustainable Energy Sources
Remember when you first started going to the Farmer’s Market years back? It’s gotten a lot bigger and busier, hasn’t it? Same with organic and local options at your grocery store—I’ll bet there’s a heck of a lot more options than there were, say, five years ago. Plus, prices have gone way down as well. This increase in the availability of affordable, sustainable, local, organic food is simply thanks to the increase in demand.
More and more people recognized the harm that our global food system has had on the environment, and they choose differently. It’s taken some time, but slowly and surely a growing number of consumers have jumped on the ever-growing sustainable food train. In turn, we’re seeing lower prices and greater accessibility—I mean, even Walmart is now selling organic food.
The same thing goes for sustainable energy. What started as a small movement has the potential to become huge. Yes, it will be a little more expensive (although RECs are fairly affordable), but in time, as supply and demand increase, prices will drop. And when prices drop, it will be accessible to a greater number of people.
We can no longer deny the harmful effects of fossil fuels on our environment, and natural resources are not infinite; so again, we need to make a choice. It starts with us. We, as a generation, have the opportunity to help change the future of energy for the better. If it’s as easy as making a phone call, switching energy suppliers and purchasing RECs, then why shouldn’t we do it?
Renewable Energy Credits Build a Brighter Future
It’s a common thing for us millennials to want to change the world—but it’s just as common to feel like we are much too insignificant to do so. The thing is, you can be a meaningful part of the betterment of this planet through the choices you make every day. No, not all of the food on the planet is sold locally and GMOs are still a thing, but we keep purchasing sustainable food because we believe that one day, the world will be changed for the better because of it.
Same goes for energy. Not all of our energy comes from sustainable sources and fossil fuels are making our planet filthier by the minute, but we can choose to purchase renewable energy credits because if enough of us do, it can change the world. Just imagine, for a second, a world where windmills spinning peacefully in fields and solar panels glistening in the sunshine was the norm. We may not be there yet, but one day, we will.
Renewable Energy Credits, or RECs, are a Liberty Power product that allows you to power your home or business with renewable energy. Purchasing RECs means that you ensure enough clean energy is produced to offset your energy use. To find out how you can purchase RECs and contribute to the betterment of the planet, contact Liberty Power today.
Photo Credit: Mabel Amber