I just got a memo under my hotel room door informing me that there is a shortage of power in New Mexico, and that I am being asked to lower my room temperature by 10 degrees. I happily obliged. It was almost refreshing to have an upscale hotel such as Embassy Suites ask their members to make a sacrifice.
Albuquerque is no stranger to sacrifice. I lived here two summers, and recall the mayor asking for limited or no lawn watering during periods of drought, and also asking people to limit water usage in homes, such as shower length.
My senior design project in college was the creation of a trash-sorting and biofuel producing facility for our Montana community (Bozeman). We built in an extensive set of machinery and equipment to separate recyclables from compostables from trash. We were asked by a classmate after our well-received presentation, why we didn't consider having people pre-sort their own trash. Our answer was that it was too imposing on the community – we couldn't possibly ask them to do that! Montana was a more individual-based state in terms of its laws and freedoms at that time. Only after moving to California and living in San Francisco did I realize that people were more than willing to separate their own trash! This alone might have made our project feasible in the "real-world."
I'm learning not to underestimate our citizen's capacity for sacrifice, for the common good.