Climate for Action: Turn it Off!

About the author: Ashley Sims, a senior at Indiana University, is a fall intern with EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education through the Washington Leadership Program.

“Come on and Click it, flip it, turn the handle to the right, turn off the water, twist the handle real tight” –Click it, Flip it Rap

I’ve blogged about many things we all can do to address global climate change and its effects on children’s health since we launched our campaign on October 6th. We’ve talked about issues such as water and energy efficiency, paper usage, taking public transportation, and packing a waste-free lunch. We learned that it only takes simple things, such as choosing to turn the water off while you’re brushing your teeth, to help address global climate change and its effects on children’s health. Now this brings me to this week’s topic – Turn It Off! As mentioned in the above rap, you can “Click it, flip it” to conserve energy and save the planet too.

Did you know some appliances still use a small amount of power when they’re switched off and plugged to an outlet? Most appliances that use electricity when switched off are things like VCRs, televisions, stereos, kitchen appliances, and computers. And if you’re like me, you keep your phone charger plugged in when not in use, but not anymore! According to the US Department of Energy, 75% of the electricity used to power home appliances is consumed when they are turned off. Seems like a waste to me. A way to avoid this is to simply unplug the appliances or use the switch on a power strip to cut the power off.

Another way to take action is to look for energy-saving ENERGY STAR home electronics and make sure your parents do too. These ENERGY STAR qualified products use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment and our health. Electricity generation from the combustion of fossil fuels contributes to unhealthy air quality, acid rain, and global climate change. It’s important to use less electricity to prevent harmful effects to our health.

In conclusion, make sure to switch off your electronics and lights when they are not in use. Even better, unplug them. Electronics still use a small amount of energy when they are plugged in, even when they are turned off. Plugging electronics into a surge-protector with an on/off switch is an easy way to do this. How do you use less electricity?

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