courtesy of onemandbandwith.org
Today is Earth Day, and that means it is a great day to start your “green resolutions.” You already recycle (when you remember and there’s a recycling bin handy), you walk instead of drive as much as possible (does walking to the car count? YES!), and you’ve tamed your electronics so they don’t draw as much power as the Death Star (uh…busted.). Don’t worry, there are many opportunities to improve your treatment of the earth AND indulge your geekiness!
There are many easy ways to reduce your energy consumption (which helps the earth) and therefore reduce your electric bill (which helps you!). Here are a few ideas:
-Unplug items that are not in use. Even chargers and other items can be drawing power while not actually doing anything! If you have a power strip for your phone, computer, ipod chargers, flipping that power strip to off while they are not in use can add up to a significant power savings. Wikipedia has an excellent article on this phenomenon, called “vampire power”. And Amazon has a sale on Kill-a-watt Usage Monitors so you can nail down who are the worst culprits running around your house. (Note: DO NOT attempt to solve the problem yourself with wooden stakes. If you suspect you have a real vampire and not the electric kind, call your local vampire slayer.)
-Invest in some eco friendly lightbulbs.
-Put your computer into sleep or standby mode over screensaver mode where possible. CNET had a great tip about a program calledthat helps to make sure your computer is actually going to sleep, and not pretending so it can secretly sneak out and hook up with those no good netbooks from down the street.
-Recycle your old electronics. There’s websites like Freecycle and Gazelle, and if you don’t have something you can trade or sell there are resources like the National Center for Electronics Recycling which will help you find where to recycle your old Atari.
-If you are a spammer, try cutting back on the email blasts. McAfee put out a report indicating spam=carbon footprint of driving 3 feet. So for those of us who aren’t offering illicit drugs to vast numbers of people, or phishing for paypal passwords, what does this mean? Even if we aren’t running around spamming everyone, it is a good reminder that everything we do has a tradeoff. Sending an email to ten people, watching hulu, logging into facebook all require energy consumption beyond what is personally generated at home, but that does not mean they are free. While there sadly is not much any one person can do about spam, but the lesson there is to be more mindful of all internet and technology use, as there is an energy bill in there somewhere, whether you are paying it personally or in the impact to the earth.
Still not feeling the whole green thing? How about saving some green? There are websites around the interwebs offering up deals and sales on items to help you along in doing your part:
-Amazon has an Earth Day savings page with tech, gardening and household items on sale.
-Fortte is offering 30% off with the promo code Earth9 through May 10th.
-Thinkgeek.com has a whole slew of Earth Day ideas, plus an awesome contest:
This Earth Day, geek retailer extraordinaire ThinkGeek is pledging to create the first ever carbon-offset Tron video arcade game (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tron_(arcade_game)) with a promise to purchase credits against their in-office machine. They are planning to hook up a Kill-A-Watt meter (http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/travelpower/7657/) to calculate the electrical expenses and amount of carbon it uses–and ask their Twitter & Facebook friends to guess how much it is. The best guess coming closest without going over will win an eco-friendly gift pack and a gift certificate to ThinkGeek.
Hopefully you’ve come up with some good Earth Day resolutions. If nothing else, get out and enjoy the spring, and say thanks to the Earth for everything!