Have you ever thought about the fact that when you are using electricity, there are children crying because of no electricity? Have you ever thought about that when you are using electricity, tons of greenhouse gases flow into our atmosphere, causing glaciers to melt on the other side of the earth? Have you ever thought about that when you are using electricity, you are using up the world’s limited resources, and your children may have nothing to use in the future? Electricity is considered a precious resource in the current world situation, but people usually take it for granted. Excessive consumption of electricity is everywhere. When I first came to University of Alaska Fairbanks, I was surprised that people didn’t shut the lights off even though they already get off work. And some lights are on for the entire night! Therefore, I appeal that students and staff at University of Alaska Fairbanks should be more conscious of turning out lights in the campus buildings in order to conserve energy because this practice is good for the environment, resources must be conserved for future generations, and it saves the school a lot of money.
From UAF Utilities Data report, coal is the biggest contributor in producing electricity. I believe that most people know that burning coal will produce green gases to pollute the environment. But how many people actually know how much pollution is produced? From data of US government energy information administration, it says “Complete combustion of 1 short ton (2,000 pounds) of coal will generate about 5,720 pounds (2.86 short tons) of carbon dioxide.” I also analyzed the UAF Utilities Weekly data Report. Oct, 15, 2009 it shows that the total coal usage this week is 1,042.94 tons. Therefore, this amount of coal would produce 5,965,617 pounds of CO2! What a huge number! And, this is just one kind of gas that burning coal produces, other gases like SO2 and NO2 have even stronger greenhouse effects than CO2. When these green gases flow into the atmosphere, they don’t go to outer space, they surround the earth like the thick blanket. In the past times, when the sun sends heat to the earth, some of the heat is reflected back to outer space. But now since the earth has a blanket, some heat is blocked and kept inside. Therefore, the world average temperature is increasing in recent years. Rising temperature causes a lot of environmental problems. For example glaciers are melting faster than usual, which causes the sea level rising and some low-lying areas are being swallowed. For instance, Journalist Christine Shearer revealed the fact that one of the Alaskan villages named Shishmaref is sinking into the sea for over a decade from the Conductive website.
Burning coals not just has a bad influence on our generation, but also has magnificent damage to the future generation. With the rising temperature, the world climate is changing. Lots of animals and plants are dying because of not being able to adjust to a new climate. For example, in San Juan Puerto Rico, the nocturnal calls of indigenous frogs have fallen silent. Besides, some exotic species which used to be killed by the cold winter are now coming out earlier to spread diseases like SRAS and resistant forms of tuberculosis. Our future generation may not see as many species as we see now but at the same time have to suffer more diseases. What’s worse, from October 2008 EIA statistics, “world coal consumption is annually increasing at 1-2% per year.” Although each country has reserved some amount for future use, the consumption is much bigger than the reproduction. There is a date when all these resources will be used up. Shouldn’t we leave some for our children?
The third reason why we should reduce electricity consumption is that it saves our as well as the school’s money. I did a survey in UAF Gruening building, for a classroom like 412(1021 Sq. Feet), it has 24 lamps in inside. And for each lamp, there are three bulbs. From the information I got in UAF Utilities services, each 48 inches long bulb is 40W/h, therefore, for a single lamp is 120w/h and the price is $0.139018 KW/h. so if a student or staff forget to turn the lights off when he/she leaves 412, for a single hour, it could be 40 cents. Don’t think this is a small number, if people waste one hour a day, for a year, it will become $3504! And this is just a number for a 24 lamps classroom. There are more and bigger classrooms in UAF. If everybody “forgets” one hour, what a big loss it will be for this school! Therefore, we should reduce electricity consumption to save the money in your pocket and the school pocket.
All in all, the students and stuff in UAF should cherish the electricity they are using, for it is good for the environment, it keeps some resources for the future generation, and it saves the school as well as individual’s money.
Energy Information Administration Official Energy Statistics from the US Goverment. (August, 1994). Carbon Dioxide Emission Factors for Coal.
Energy Information Administration Official Energy Statistics from the US Goverment. (October 17, 2008). World coal consumption 1980-2006.
UAF Utilities Service. (n.d.). Utilities Rate Information. October 15, 2009.
UAF Utilities Service. (October 15, 2009). Weekly Report. October 15, 2009. Retrieved from
Shearer Christine. (June/July, 2009). CLIMATE CRISIS Alaskan Village Shishmaref Sinking Into the Sea. October 15, 2009.