The light switch. Made to give us the control to illuminate a room with one flip of a finger, in just a fraction of a second. The faucet. Delivering clean, vital nourishment, conveniently and quickly, in multiple rooms of the house.
Given the convenience of energy and water (and with no obvious way to match wasted energy or water with a price), it’s no wonder many of us consistently forget to turn off the lights when we leave a room or turn water off while we’re brushing our teeth. We can’t see the difference between when we left it on and when we turned it off.
So why turn off when you can’t tell much of a difference in the bill? Well, the dollars do add up, and for me, the wake up call was realizing I was paying for something I wasn’t using. I wouldn’t spend money at a store buying something I wasn’t going to use, even if it did just cost a little, so why would I do so in this instance?
Then I considered the environmental cost -- using energy means extracting and transporting fossil fuels (re: fracking or drilling, neither is good, nor is one better).
And, as we move forward with a growing global population and increasing effects of climate change, water + energy conservation is at the forefront of the conversation. We may not feel it’s scarcity right here, right now, but what we do here does matter, for the rest of the world and for our future — scarcity is on the horizon.
Turn off the lights and faucets when they’re not in use. Remembering to switch to “off” is a practice of mindfulness … -- to help you get there faster, maybe leave a few sticky notes around the house with reminding words of encouragement until it becomes a habit!
Unplug appliances that aren’t being used -- even in the off position, they are still pulling energy! Try using a power strip for unplugging convenience.
Replace lightbulbs with energy efficient ones; they will pay for themselves in energy savings. Take it further by replacing old appliances with energy efficient appliances, if you have the means to do so. Your savings will subsidize the cost, and will only grow as energy becomes more expensive over time.
Turn off the water while washing dishes, brushing your teeth, washing the dog or shaving. Basically, if you gotta pause and do something while the water is running, turn it off and resume the flow when you’re good to go. Maybe another sticky note reminder??
Take shorter showers.
Collect rainwater to water the lawn and garden, rather than using automated sprinklers.
Consider the relationship between water consumption and diet.
Benefits of Using Less:
Keep fossil fuels in the ground and help steer our economy away from using them.
Live in solidarity with those who don’t have ready access to these resources.