How to be a Natural Conservationist

One thing that strikes me about living here are the things that people do here as second nature, which are considered “Conservation” back home. For example, turning off all the lights when you leave a room/house/office. This should be common sense. You aren’t home, you don’t need the light on. Not only that but leaving the light on costs money that you, once again, don’t need to be spending if you aren’t home! People here turn off the lights every time they leave a room. I go from my bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen. As I move around the kitchen I turn one switch on and one switch off depending on whether I’m cooking or sitting down to eat. Also, I remember when preparing for Earth Day 2009 at my former office, Digitas, one of the things the Environmental Committee was trying to teach people was to turn off and unplug the computer when you leave for the day. It may cost you an additional 5 minutes in the morning to plug it back in and reboot, but you are saving a tremendous amount of energy as well.

This is something else I have noted and taken into practice, don’t leave electronics plugged in indefinitely! When I use my computer, I plug it in only for the time I am using it, and disconnect the plug from the wall when I am not. I even unplug the surge protector from the wall. I have my space heater plugged in only when I want it turned on, same goes with my hair dryer or hair iron. There is absolutely no reason to leave these things plugged in when idle, as it is still using energy, a) wasting the Earth’s resources, and b) costing you money! I remember reading a statistic when preparing for Earth Day that some 30% of electric bills in the U.S. come from “Phantom Energy” which is energy that is being used by electronics plugged in when not in use.

The Culprit

Paraguayans also do not use heat in the winter. Of course their winter is generally only about a week or two weeks, so it would be silly to equip their houses with heat for such a short period of time, but after the 2nd or 3rd day of cold weather I ran out and bought myself a space heater to keep me warm. Not to say NO ONE has space heaters or wall units, some people definitely do, but no matter how much I have tried to convince Fatima and Sadie to plug in a space heater, they prefer to bundle up under layers of blankets to keep the cold out! I guess it’s just the natural conservationists in them!

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