Youth Radio reporter Antony Jauregui and his younger brother Alexis battle over the remote control.
Youth Radio’s Antony Jaurequi didn’t give a lot of thought about how much energy he wastes until he found himself in his parents’ hometown in Mexico. The visit gave him a new appreciation for energy conservation.
GELLERMAN: It’s Living on Earth. I’m Bruce Gellerman. As temperatures begin to drop, heating bills rise. But it’s not a concern for your average teenager. And as Youth Radio’s Antony Jaureguí admits he didn’t think much about it. After all, he grew up in sunny Southern California. But on a recent trip to his parents’ hometown in Mexico, he began to question why he never questions his energy use.
JAUREGUI: This is the sound of convenience in my house. Microwave, television, computer, stereo. We use these appliances a lot. My 14-year old brother Alexis is the main culprit. He leaves the lights on and appliances unattended. I try not to waste that much energy. I caught him upstairs playing on the computer and a hand-held video game- called a DS- at the same time.
ALEXIS: I’m not on the computer and the DS at the same time only the computer and TV.
ALEXIS: No that’s crazy. You’re the one who does it!
JAUREGUI: I use it more than you?
ALEXIS: Of course. You sleep with the radio on and you don’t turn it off until the morning!
JAUREGUI: That’s not true
ALEXIS: You told me 5 times! (laughs)
JAUREGUI: Ok, maybe we both use more energy than necessary. But my parents have tried to teach us to be mindful about energy. They grew up in a totally different era in a small town in Mexico.
DAD: I used to pick up some manure of the cow and also the manure of the donkeys.
JAUREGUI: Here’s my dad talking about his first lesson in energy.
[SOUND OF GAS VENDOR]
JAUREGUI: That’s the gas delivery man in my dad’s hometown- Jalostitotlan. He's saying 'gaaaaaaa-aaaaaassss'. He’s shouting out the window of his truck to sell tanks of gas to the townspeople. This summer, I visited my family there and learned about energy in a new way.
[GREETINGS IN SPANISH]
I stop by my neighbors to ask what’s it all about? The person who answers in an elderly lady named Yermina Gonzalez.
YERMINA: Es bueno el systema porque ahorra uno a dinero se conserva la agua como 3 a 4 dias quando el tiempo esta malo y eso es lo que nosotros hemos visto. Quando el tiempo esta bien siempra hay agua caliente. Valle tener un sistema asi un systema solar.
JAUREGUI: She tells me the panels are her solar-powered water heating system. She says that over the past 25 years she has conserved not only gas, but also tons of money.
It seems like energy use is on peoples’ minds here more than in LA. This makes me wonder: am I an energy brat? When I’m home in LA, I even complain about going outside to put my clothes in the washing machine. Here at my grandma’s in Jalisco, I’m getting used to being the washing machine.
JAUREGUI: (tape) Now I’m doing laundry. Here it’s all hand washed. You get the water from this water pipe, it’s like inside the toilet, it’s like a little pump and the water runs out. And I just scrub. [Sigh]
DAD: When you go through trouble getting something, then you really appreciate what you have.
JAUREGUI: I’ve always had energy at my fingertips, so I haven’t really thought about where it comes from and how much I use. My parents have had it harder. And maybe that’s where they get their mentality about energy.
DAD: Like I don’t know if you remember where your mother used to live on the top of the hill. She used to go down there to get the water. She had to walk a lot to get some water so now when you guys or me even use a lot of water, she really gets upset because she knew how hard it was to get the water and now that we have the water sometimes we waste it.
JAUREGUI: I always thought that my mom was just tripping on me whenever I left the water running. But now I understand the chill that must run through her spine when she sees me waste water. Now that I’m back at LA, I am more dedicated to saving energy. Not only do I turn off the lights, but I’ve even caught myself looking through articles on energy conservation and careers. I used to think energy was only an issue in my house, but now I realize that it’s an issue affecting the whole world.
For Living on Earth, I’m Antony Jauregui.
GELLERMAN: Our story was produced by Youth Radio.
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