Written by Theo Carr, ESLLC 2017-2018
“Live Sustainably” is a lifestyle that we are urged towards more and more every day because it is getting easier and easier to do so. Technology now enables us to do things totally impossible only a few years ago, and it lets us do it entirely off of energy generated from our own homes. Due to its availability, sustainability is quickly gaining popularity. There are currently two ways to achieve energy independence. The first is decreasing your fossil fuel dependence by installing more renewable energy sources. The second is by eliminating your energy consumption altogether.
If your lifestyle demands large amounts of energy to light your rooms, freeze your food, or heat your home, the first option is your best choice. Many varieties of renewable energy sources are at your disposal to sate your energy needs. To keep your house well lit, the sun is an excellent choice! Having large windows and skylights is an excellent way to maintain an illuminated atmosphere. Solar panels can also harness that energy to keep your lights lit at night. If it’s cloudy during the day, just light a couple candles at night to keep you company. When other appliances need some electricity to run, install large wind turbines on top of your house. As long as it’s really gusty outside, you’ll be able to run the microwave and the TV at the same time. If you still require more energy, buy a second turbine. Heating your home sustainably is the easiest solution to any of the problems. Geothermal heating draws straight from the Earth’s intrinsic heat to keep your house at a comfortable 70 degrees. Highly dependable, geothermal energy only requires you to build in the right spot and that the Earth continues to be hot at its core. By turning to these often expensive but environmentally conscious methods, you can save the planet and they might even pay for themselves.
However, if you are really serious about saving the planet the second option is the only option. By reducing your energy budget, you are being truly committed to living sustainably. There are lots of ways to reduce your footprint. First, unscrew those lightbulbs. Regardless of whether they are incandescent, fluorescent, or LED, those lightbulbs are a constant temptation to waste. Without those energy suckers, you’ll save watts of electricity. Second, you can stop paying your water bills, they’re a pain anyway. No water means no hot showers, but it also means that energy isn’t being used to heat and move that water. Plus, cold showers are better for you anyway. An alternate option for extreme sustainability is to sell the whole house and just live in the woods. It is not an exaggeration to say this option has been popular since the dawn of mankind. Reverting to this method with instantly save you thousands on bills, and save the Earth from thousands of carbon dioxide molecules.
In all seriousness though, as college students we may find ourselves without the motivation or tools to cut our contribution to climate change. We certainly don’t have the money to install a solar panel onto our roof, or the skills to live in the wilderness, but our environmentally conscious actions don’t have to be extreme in either direction. It can be as easy as drinking without a straw or taking the light rail. Moving towards sustainability is not a huge leap and sacrificing your way of life, it’s a series of small steps that we take in unison. Never underestimate your ability to save the Earth.