When most people think about a controversy surrounding marijuana, they think about medicinal uses or outright legalization. But there’s also an environmental controversy. Would you be surprised to learn that indoor cannabis production is responsible for about 3% of all electricity use in the state of California? When you consider that a single industrial grow light uses about the same amount of electricity as 28 refrigerators, it starts to make sense.
Our first guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Scott Zeramby, a contributor to a recent study that documents the energy consumption associated with indoor cannabis growing. Mr. Zeramby discusses the forces responsible for the shift to indoor growing, and how the study makes a case to oppose this trend and instead let the grass grow where it’s greenest — outside.
After this high-minded discussion, host Alex Wise speaks with filmmaker Shaka King, whose debut feature film “Newlyweeds” depicts one young man’s complex relationship with marijuana. They talk about the problems that arise when you combine policies that criminalize cannabis and practices that unfairly target communities of color.
Vampire power refers to the electricity electronic appliances and devices waste just by being plugged in, even when they’re switched off. Did you know that when you point your remote control at the TV to turn it off for the night, that appliance isn’t really off? In the middle of the night, at the witching hour, your TV, in standby mode, continues to suck power, like a sinister vampire draining electricity off the grid while you sleep blithely unaware.
This purely wasteful electricity consumption is said to amount to around 10% of residential use for the average American household. The good news is that the solution is very straightforward. By utilizing technological innovations that already exist, and changing some simple everyday habits, we can put a stake in the heart of this problem. This week on Sea Change Radio we talk with Maria Vargas who explains how the federal government’s Energy Star program is trying to raise awareness and promote more responsible energy consumption, and with Alan Meier, senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a faculty member at UC Davis and one of the foremost authorities on standby power.
While this broadcast focuses more on the progress being made by the Energy Star program, critics assert that the program’s binary “yes” or “no” system is less helpful to consumers than graded scale systems like in Europe – and also that the program certifies too many products.