Since when did saving become a bad thing?

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In the last several months, the global warming issue has been in the news frequently. The message I've received is basically this: Global warming is real, it's more than 90 percent likely that the most recent, drastic warming is the result of mankind, and there are some things we can do about it.

The amazing thing to me is that we're still getting calls and e-mails from folks who want to keep their heads in the sand, denying what seems undeniable. Folks, we've changed the planet's climate, simple as that. We've made it warmer. Want an example? Any of you longtime Phoenix residents remember how cool summer nights could be? Not anymore. With urbanization, we've changed the climate in the Valley. The most obvious result of that are low temperatures. It just doesn't cool off as much at night as it used to.

However, I'm not writing this to debate the science of global warming. As I've said in the past, I must trust the findings, the literally hundreds of studies on the issue, that say it's real.

But what makes me crazy is the backlash when we report on ways we all can reduce our impact. You know, things like buying those new-fangled fluorescent lights or changing air conditioner filters regularly or setting the thermostat a little higher in the summer and a little lower in the winter. People are really getting worked up about that.

So when did saving become a bad thing? When did conserving our natural resources become an idea that makes folks so angry?

In the 1980s, we used to do a daily "Water Report" from the city of Phoenix, telling folks how much water we used. Oh, the complaints we heard. "Why should I worry about saving water when golf courses are using millions of gallons each day?" "Those farmers are using tons of water, why should I take a shorter shower?" And so on and so on. But of course, that wasn't the point.

Why should you conserve water? Because you can. A gallon of water we save today is a gallon we have for tomorrow. Why should we all try to conserve our natural resources? Because we can. But more importantly, it's a way of saving for the future.

I remember being taught in Boy Scouts to "pack out" what we "packed in." We wanted our impact to be minimal on our campsites. Why can't that be part of our everyday lives?

Finally, I'll be the first to tell you I could be doing better conserving natural resources and reducing my "carbon imprint" on the globe. I don't think twice about taking a trip in the car to the store. I'm not good at handling summers with the air conditioning set too warm. And we have a gas fireplace that is so nice to enjoy in the winter. But I'm getting better. I'm conserving more. I'm learning how to save more every day. I'm trying to learn how to save more now as an investment for everyone's future.