My Turn: Locals can help Katrina victims, too |

My Turn: Locals can help Katrina victims, too

In the wake of Katrina there is a need for all of us to help to keep our country running smoothly and to help out the citizens of the effected area. We shouldn’t sit around and wait or even expect our government to solve all of the problems for us. In fact our founding fathers never intended for our government to operate in that function. They were hoping that we as citizens would see the need to help each other and do so at whatever level we can.So what can we in Truckee do? Donating to the Red Cross is one way. Changing our personal lifestyles is another. The area affected by Katrina is one of the largest import-export areas in the country, as well as being one of the largest oil refinery and distribution areas in the United States. The loss of ability for that area to supply the country with its normal supply petroleum and other products will have impacts to everyone in the United States for at least a year, if not longer.The area affected by Katrina will need to draw upon the rest of the resources in the United States to rebuild. A 20 percent reduction in the use of petroleum products by each one of us as individuals will do a great service to help out everyone in the country. What are ways we can do this? Something as simple as putting up a drying rack or a clothesline can make a difference. When you heat your house, shut the doors to rooms not being used. Driving habits are another way. Reduce the amount you drive. I personally have made a commitment to myself to not drive at least four days a week. Carpool, walk, ride a bike or do what you need to not drive. When you do drive, think about driving two to five miles per hour under the posted speed limit, not the standard five to 10 over that most people tend to. Just doing that will save 2 to 5 percent in fuel usage. You can also leave at least a three-second gap between you and the car in front of you, AKA not tailgating, which will save another 2 percent.Now is a good time to think about replacing your Suburban, Yukon, Escalade, etc. Don’t look at the horsepower numbers but rather the fuel mileage numbers. This of course is a small list with there being many more ways of reducing our energy use. Hanging a flag on your vehicle and driving around pretending you are patriotic isn’t what America needs. America needs all of us to change our personal habits. Being an American gives us the right to be as wasteful as we like, but being a true American is by showing that you care for the health of the country and by helping other Americans especially in the time of need. Dan Warren is a Truckee resident. “My Turn” is a space for Sierra Sun readers to submit guest columns that are between 500 and 850 words. Send “My Turn” columns to

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