Friday, August 5, 2011

52 Small Steps - Week 3

For years we have been encouraged to turn off lights when we leave a room.  Most of us are pretty good at that by now, but a lot of people still leave lights burning when they aren't using them (I'm included - not being holier-than-thou here - I do leave lights on sometimes). 

Here in Alberta, more than 80% of our electricity comes from fossil fuels - 46% from coal, 39% from natural gas (did you know that?  I didn't until I looked it up!).  Having grown up in British Columbia (where hydro-electricity is the norm creating 90% of the province's electricity), I did not grow up equating electricity with fossil fuels.  But I have to re-think that now.  Every time I turn on a light, have my computer running, have the T.V. or the satellite on, use the washing machine, etc., I am using up non-renewable fossil fuels.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I don't see this as a horrible thing --- if I'm using them at the time.  But leaving appliances on when I'm not using them ... well, it's bad form.

So this week's challenge (for those of you who don't do it already) ... turn off your lights!  If the sun is shining, you probably don't need the lights on.  If you do, then only have the ones on that you are using.  If you leave a room, turn them off.  There are even motion-sensor lights that will turn on and off with movement (or lack thereof) in the room.  You can get them for your house. 

Now, to go further, if you aren't using your computer for a couple of hours ... turn it off.  I'm bad for this.  I leave the computer on all day even if I'm not using it.  And I shouldn't.  They actually recommend laptops for energy conservation now because you close the lid and it goes to sleep instantly.  Also, don't leave your computer, satellite receiver, etc. on over night.  This draws a huge amount of electricity.  Even when they are off, appliances can "sip" electricity.  We have power bars now for the T.V./bluray/satellite as well as for the computer/monitor/printers and we turn them off every night so they don't drain small amounts of electricity.

The great thing here is that you'll be helping the environment, but also your pocketbook.  Electricity doesn't cost much, so we don't think about using it.  But it adds up, and you can save a little money if you conserve the stuff.

Sorry, I don't have any new reading planned for you this week - but there is one book that I've recommended before and that I will re-recommend (is that a word?) now.   "Eaarth" by Bill McKibben.  He also has a website at:  http://www.billmckibben.com/index.html

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