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Regarding James Dobson’s Aug. 14 letter, “Power-saving mindset has limits“: If the government would make laws to enforce conservation, Japan could easily reduce energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution-related health conditions.

In any Japanese town, you can easily observe opportunities for energy conservation that are being ignored. For example, in convenience and grocery stores, heated drinks and cooled drinks are located next to each other, separated by only a small metal partition. Also, frozen and cooled food sections are uncovered. Meanwhile, the entire building is being heated or cooled to different temperature settings. Heating and cooling mechanisms battle 24 hours a day. A simple law to mandate covers in some sections would save tremendous amounts of energy.

How about a law to turn off the lighting of vending machines, even for just four or five hours a day?

The government should mandate a refund system for returned drink containers. People would pick up all of those bottles and cans littering Japanese beaches and rivers. Recycling a metal can saves the same amount of energy used to power the average television or computer for approximately three hours.

Another idea: Make sure every street has a name and a street sign. How many liters of gasoline do drivers waste searching for locations that could be located faster if there were street signs?

These are just a few simple ways to save energy; there are many more. Unfortunately, many people are lazy and will not change their behavior without pressure. Every day I see able-bodied teenagers using escalators to go up or down one floor, people of all ages using and disposing of plastic bags from stores, and healthy people driving their own cars to go very short distances, sometimes to the health club to exercise.

We let the government make laws that impede our personal freedoms for the greater good, such as limiting our driving speed or limiting where smokers can light up, etc. It’s time to demand that the government make and enforce laws to reduce energy use.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

greg goodmacher

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