In November of 2006, New York City resident Colin Beavan, along with his wife and daughter, set out to live with no net environmental impact.
Fast forward three years later, add the Huffington Post, and you have No Impact Week. According to the website, the goal is to “demonstrate ways in which small actions in our daily lives can have a profound impact on our world.” Together, they’ve provided a daily guide with steps you can take to lessen your impact over the course of a week. Each day has a different theme.
I’m joining over 4,000 people to take on this challenge to identify what impact my actions (or lack of action) are having, and to find out what areas of my lifestyle I can change to balance out my carbon footprint a bit more.
Day 5: Energy
A couple weeks ago, one of the three light bulbs in the bathroom went out. I kept procrastinating replacing it, and then I got used to it. We don’t actually NEED three light bulbs in the bathroom; we can totally get by with two.
In my classroom, we have two light switches. A teacher next door always complains how bright my room is. I decide to turn on one switch, and I get used to it. Just like with my bathroom, when I use full light power, it actually gives me a headache.
Which brings me to today’s challenge – energy.
Today I assessed my current energy habits by making a list of EVERYTHING in my house that uses energy to operate (electricity, oil, gas, batteries). Then I went through the items and chose certain ones that I could eliminate (lights in the extra bedrooms), and others that I could definitely cut down on (turning off or unplugging electronics, turning off lights even if I’m leaving the room for a minute).
Besides using less electricity for lights, you can save electricity by stripping down or bundling up and turning off the AC or heat for a while. Use natural daylight when possible and burn candles at night. Not only will it “set the mood”, it will reduce your electricity bill!
Take advantage of the solar and wind power outside to dry your clothes. This natural drying method will save you money and your clothes will smell great. If you don’t have a backyard, use a drying rack or hang up a line in your shower.
If you are a tea person like I am, make tea from solar heated water with a homemade solar water heater.
Reuse plastic water bottles and use solar power at the same time. This is one I’m really excited to try out!
Did you know that electronics still suck energy even when you aren’t using them? Plug your computer, TV, and other electronics into a power strip and turn the strip off when you are done. I’m going to use one for my computer, printer, and wireless router, and another for my TV and video games.
Here’s a challenge that I’m going to take on – not using one of my top electronics (TV, computer, or stove) for a whole day once a week. My goal is to go for not using my laptop, but we’ll have to see on that one!
Water is the challenge for tomorrow!
Curious about the environmental impact of your gadgets? Check out our article “Is Your Computer Killing the Planet?”
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Abbie lives in Denver and can usually be found doing something with her dogs, Daisy and Sadie, or working on her dog training business. In addition to working with dogs, Abbie is a freelance writer and pre-k special ed teacher.