I hope you’re doing well and staying warm now that we’re into December. It may be tempting in these colder months to simply crank the heat up, but I’m sure you’re aware that it wastes energy. It’s an argument we’ve all heard time and again, but what exactly is so bad about wasting energy? Where does it come from? We’ve grown up in a society where it’s so easy to just plug our appliances into an outlet and watch the electricity do its job. We never seem to question where this electricity comes from or why some people (like myself) flip out when someone forgets to turn off the lights when they leave the room. What could possibly be so bad about such a simple action?
As a child I always just assumed that electricity was this magical substance that inexplicably sprung from the walls of everyone’s houses. It was just there. It was an unlimited supply. We would never run out. Of course I eventually figured out that this wasn’t the case, but I still didn’t know where it actually came from. It was only a few years ago that I learned where it really is produced: for most of us this is a factory that burns coal. The heat from this is converted into electricity and sent to our homes to help keep us warm through the frigid winter. An unfortunate byproduct of this is that burning coal produces CO2, one of the main contributors to climate change. By leaving the lights on when we leave the room we are forcing these factories to burn more coal. Some of us are lucky – we might live in a place where, instead of a coal burning factory, our energy comes from a dam or wind turbines. Green energy such as hydro-power and wind-power have much less averse effects on the environment. Even then, however, it is still a good idea to unplug appliances and turn off lights when they aren’t in use.
A little known fact is that any piece of electronic equipment continues to burn energy if it’s plugged in, regardless of whether or not it’s on or off. Let’s show the earth some love this winter by unplugging our electronic devices and resisting the urge to turn up the heat. Your laptop can stand to run off of just its battery for a few minutes, and sweaters are an incredibly fuzzy (as well as fashionable) alternative to raising the thermostat a few degrees. Plus, you’ll avoid getting any environmental freaks annoyed by turning off your lights! Imagine how much CO2 we can keep out of the atmosphere if everyone works together to do these small things. It will make a difference.
Wear fuzzy sweaters everyone!