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A Letter From The Publisher, Dec. 3, 1973

3 minute read

Like millions of others round the world, TIME staff members are already experiencing the first impacts of the energy crisis and preparing for the cold months ahead. At the Time-Life Building in Manhattan, office temperatures have been lowered, corridor lights dimmed or extinguished, and night elevator service sharply reduced. There has also been a sudden proliferation of heavy sweaters. Outside, despite chilly fall temperatures, bicycle racks have become increasingly jammed as more and more staffers pedal to work instead of taking taxis and buses.

Conservation efforts are equally vigorous away from the office. Deputy Chief of Correspondents Benjamin Cate has just traded in an eight-cylinder sports car for a four-cylinder auto that cannot make jackrabbit starts but uses only half as much gasoline as the sports car. Picture Researcher Suzanne Richie has begun weaving blankets for friends on a foot-powered loom in her apartment, and Nation Reporter-Researcher Sally Bedell no longer leaves a 75-watt bulb on in her apartment to sustain her exotic $75 dracaena house plant. For Business Writer Jack Kramer, a former London resident, economizing on energy is old news. “The English advise one to gravitate toward rooms full of warm bodies and drink lots of warming spirits, two energy-conserving principles that rind their ultimate expression in a communal effort called a licensed public house.” Says Kramer: “I can especially recommend this tactic.”

In our Washington bureau, TIME’S Environment Correspondent Samuel Iker, who has been reporting the energy crisis for two years, has become an energy vigilante, turning off his colleagues’ lights when they leave the office. Secretary Diana Reuter in our Atlanta bureau has joined a car pool instead of driving her own car to visit her horse at a stable outside town. The story is the same overseas. “Rarely worn sweaters are back in use in the evening,” reports Tokyo Bureau Chief Herman Nickel. “And at the office, the knowledge that the landlord turns off the heat at 5:15 p.m. has quickened the pace of typewriters and telex machines.”

In West Germany, as elsewhere in Europe, TIME correspondents have been faced with lower speed limits and a ban on Sunday driving. Bonn Bureau Chief Bruce Nelan views the restrictions as a blessing, pointing out that gasoline in West Germany now costs about $1.20 a gallon. Correspondent Christopher Byron has responded to the crisis by turning off heat in his Bonn home during the day and setting the thermostat to 50° at night. Last week the Byron family sat down to Thanksgiving dinner dressed in overcoats.

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