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Unplug Your TV: Help End Nuclear Power

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Over one hundred billion kilowatt-hours per annum to keep that quality television programming streaming our way. That's nearly one-fifth of the power that would need to be 'replaced' were two-thirds of US reactors offline (as in Japan). 

How is this not the ultimate 'win-win scenario'? Save power, pollution, several billion dollars, and over two billion hours of wasted time per year while phasing out nuclear power? The other 80% of the missing power may be 'replaced' by other conservation measures: better bulbs, fewer lights on, higher air conditioner settings, lower electric heater settings, better electric motors, closed loops, improved appliance standards, etc. Just some tried-and-true steps; hardly "freezing in the dark."

NRDC accepted US television addiction without further commentary: " U.S. television viewers prefer to watch what they want, when they want, where they want."

We have anti-tobacco addiction, anti-drug addiction, anti-alcohol abuse programs and advertising. Why not an anti-television addiction campaign? There could be ads on buses, billboards, radio, in schools. DARE presenters would be joined by UPYTV (Unplug Your TV) educators in classrooms. Twelve Step programs would spring up in church basements. "One Weird Trick to Quit Your TV" ads would sprout on websites. Big Pharma could synthesize new compounds to ease the stress of unplugging.

Communities would rapidly improve with all the time available for citizen activism. Independent bookstores would flourish. Families would play games and do puzzles together again. Hobby stores would do a brisk business. People would again make their own music, and tell their own stories. There'd be time for physical exercise, and for outdoor pursuits. We'd be altogether healthier, smarter, and happier.

The 'kill your TV' groups ought to get together with the groups pushing energy conservation; they might be joined by those civic organizations bemoaning the decline of family values. Anti-violence groups could campaign with anti-nuclear groups. New, vibrant social movement coalitions would arise.

How better to get back at Rupert Murdoch? A frontal attack on the 'American Way of Life'? It's sure to be seen as such by Fox News. But who would know, and who would care? We'd have unplugged our TVs.

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Steve Breyman teaches peace, environmental and media studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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