Egan Junior High School students Sarah Chang and Rebecca Lim wrote this piece for a school assignment and wanted to share it with Town Crier readers.
How would switching off some lights help reduce air pollution and global warming? Many people know that conserving energy is good for the Earth, but few understand why.
When coal is used to generate electricity, it damages the environment by polluting the air and water. This process contributes approximately 33 percent of the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. economy. And, roughly 35 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from commercial and residential areas.
Anybody can help change this. Hydropower, wind power, solar power and geothermal power generate a small amount of electricity that can reduce our carbon footprint. They produce little or no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.
How can we personally reduce our impact on the environment? One possibility is to install solar panels, which will reduce the amount of electricity one uses from a coal or oil-fired power plant.
Installing solar panels may be a pricey choice for some. There are always easier, alternative ways to save electricity in a home. We can pull aside the curtains and use natural sunlight instead of electricity. We can also turn off the lights in a room and unplug appliances that are not in use. Appliances such as a Wii video game console, a toaster, a night light and a computer use small amounts of energy when they are not completely turned off or unplugged. These small amounts can eventually add up to large amounts of wasted electricity. By doing a simple task such as turning some lights off every day, a single home can save up to 486 kwh of electricity per month.
Using renewable energy resources and taking small actions to conserve energy are both effective ways to help decrease air pollution. Saving 400 kwh of electricity every month is saving approximately 490 pounds of carbon dioxide. Multiply that by 12 months, and one can reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by approximately 5,880 pounds. That is the amount of carbon dioxide an acre of trees uses to grow 4,000 pounds of wood.
Humans rely heavily on greenhouse gases. These greenhouse gases increase global warming and air pollution. Together, we can change our future.
Even if it is just a small gesture like turning off a few lights or unplugging a toaster, these actions will all add up and make a large impact.