ave you ever thought about what would happen if you went into the bathroom to brush your teeth and flicked the light switch up, but nothing happened? Or if you needed to use the sink, but no matter how many times you turned the faucet, no water came out? If, ten minutes before class started, your essay didn’t print because there’s no energy to power your electronics or supply a wireless connection? The fact that we would react with frustration and indignation to simple glitches illustrates our lack of appreciation for our energy and resources.
After living with something for so long, we begin to take energy for granted and never think twice about it – until we don’t have it anymore. We have become so accustomed to having a limitless supply of energy that we rarely think about how we are using it and much less about the consequences of our usage. Too often, we leave our bedrooms without switching off the lights or let the tap run without using the water.
The most direct impact of increased energy usage is the monetary cost. Energy is not free by any means. This means that someone is paying for every minute you leave the lights on, charge your phone, or use Wi-Fi to surf the internet. Appliances such as heating and air conditioning units can also ramp up the energy bill, especially during cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers. I’m sure your parents have come up to you and said, “Turn off the lights, it’s costing me money!” or when you ask to turn the heat way up in the middle of winter, they say, “Absolutely not, it costs more! Put a sweater on!”
But the arguably more pressing issue is the damage we are wreaking on the environment.
We have already seen the many environmental consequences that have resulted from our careless energy usage. Just recently in early-mid October, the weather here in Andover reached a comfortable 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Many were delighted by this unexpected warmth, but it was the result of massive carbon dioxide emissions which do not bode well for the environment.
To make changes, we must first take the time to recognize our various energy-wasting habits. Once they’ve been identified, we can implement the small changes to combat wastefulness.
Because we are all contributors to this issue, we are responsible for alleviating its impact. But you don’t need to be a full-time environmental activist to make a difference. The simplest, smallest acts of conservation that you can build into your routine make the biggest difference. If you get back to your room after class, and it’s still daytime, open your windows and use the sun’s natural light to study. Turn off the lights when you walk out of your room to go down the hall or talk with your friends. When you finish charging your phone, take a quick second to unplug the charger from the wall as well. If you have a desktop computer at your house, make sure to shut it down after you’re done using it.
As we head into Winter Term, students are more inclined to head indoors, resulting in longer periods of time spent with the lights on and increased usage of the heaters inside our houses and dorms. But instead of staying inside for long periods of time, I encourage all Andover students to spend more time outside.
There is no better time to heighten our awareness on how we use energy and attempt possible methods of conserving energy. As a community, we need to be more prudent with our energy usage and be held accountable for the waste we produce.