The year is the future. Humanity’s years of irresponsible energy usage and pollution have finally come home to roost. An aging and sickly man slowly hobbles forward across the desolate wasteland. The ground is soft – moist with undrinkable water, and more like sand than dirt. Very little vegetation remains, most having long since withered and died from the unending and blistering heat. The man pauses for a second, grimaces, and then spits out a tooth. Examining it, he frowns. That was his last one. A woman, even more elderly and sickly, approaches. In her former life, she was a physician, but now she is simply another wanderer, one of the last vestiges of humanity. “Tell me doctor,” the man says, struggling to muster the energy to speak, “How could all of this been prevented? Was there anything we could have done? That I could have done?” The woman thinks for a moment, and then shrugs. “I guess if just one more dumb college kid wasn’t so energy inefficient in their dorm, it all could have been avoided. It was pretty close, honestly.” The man, upon hearing this, begins crying tears of guilt and falls to his knees. The reason for this is quite simple: that old man is me, and I am a dumb college kid living in an energy inefficient dorm.
However, the year is not yet the future. The environmental disaster can still be prevented (or, at the very least, mitigated somewhat), and I will do my best to contribute. My plan is simple – take whatever actions possible to make my personal college dorm less wasteful and more efficient. This will likely require a large number of small actions rather than one simple (yet large) lifestyle change.
To start, the simplest thing to do would be to ensure nothing is plugged in unless I am using it. Phantom energy isn’t just limited to computers and electronics – things such as plugged-in cell phones and appliances can leech energy as well. Beyond that, things start to get a bit more complicated. Since I have to bring my own drinkable water, I tend to go through a lot of plastic water bottles. Much of my food is packaged in plastic as well. I should try to buy more things in bulk rather than in individual bottles or bags.
There are surely more things that I could do beyond those, but more research is required. For now, it is my goal to simply use less. To aid in my quest, I can use educational websites, and the campus resources provided rather than buying things for myself. The main barrier to my success is my own hubris and laziness – nothing I plan to do is ‘hard’ per se, but it’ll be a major change in habit, and that always takes a lot of effort. To remember, I’ll simply put something noticeable on my desk that isn’t normally there. Every time I see it, I’ll think “Oh right, I’m supposed to not be wasting energy,” and hopefully continue my efficiency journey as planned. This isn’t something I can just do every once in a while – it will require a constant stream of effort and a complete change in lifestyle. My family, friends, and roommate will likely be able to help me, at least in some way, so I will make sure not to disregard them.
If I succeed, I’ll lead a cleaner, healthier, cheaper, and more efficient life. Though, admittedly, I won’t be seeing most of the financial benefits since energy usage doesn’t affect how much tuition costs. These new habits will hopefully stay with me as I move forward in life. If I fail, my lifestyle will continue to be unhealthy and wasteful. Also, the aforementioned apocalypse.
My journey begins now! Or, rather, in a couple of days when I go back to my dorm. Either way, relatively soon. Stay tuned!