The little demons around us.
The New York Times has an article about the increasing electricity consumption of consumer electronics that are proliferating everywhere. Singular ownership is a central part of our existence, in the past a family would share a car, and now everyone one in the house gets a car. Getting a car is a rite of passage.
Interestingly, something as geeky as a computer where one item is sufficient is now at a place where individuals may have multiple. The same goes for console games as we all want the most unique games for each platform. What makes things fiendishly difficult is that things like remote controls mean that the device is never really turned off, just in standby. It's tough to remember to turn off the devices, like turn off turn off.
One of the things that motivates me is to turn off the device in a hard fashion because the LEDs at night are too annoying. I try to make sure my scanner is turned off, but I don't always remember to hard shut down my printer (though I may only use it once a week).
Some items with their painful start up times encourage us to keep things on, since who likes to wait. We need to move from "just in time" devices, to "just enough devices". from JITs to JEDs. Eventually the cost of power will correct this, but by then will it be too late?