By now you may be wondering: what are all these posters about? What is that giant lightswitch doing in the PSU? Allow us to answer all your questions!
This month MSU is competing in Campus Conservation Nationals, a nation-wide competition between colleges and universities to see who can conserve the most energy! Last year Missouri State University reduced our energy usage by 9.1% campus-wide and placed in the top 20 schools! This year we aim to reduce our energy usage even more and place in the top 10 schools! To do this, we need your help. Campus-wide participation is key to success. But first: why is energy conservation important?
Why Is Energy Conservation Important?
During the Industrial Revolution, coal became our primary source of energy. This helped to make everything more efficient and contributed to our quality of life today. Missouri State University gets a whopping 77.2% of its energy from coal! However, coal is a non-renewable resource. This means that we will eventually run out of it. Estimates of when we run out of coal vary from a few decades to a few centuries, but one thing is clear: we will run out one day.
Beyond this, coal contributes to pollution and almost all scientists agree that burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil) is contributing to climate change, causing our CO2 levels in the atmosphere to jump from a healthy 350 ppm to an unhealthy 400 ppm. This contributes to a greenhouse effect, causing climate change and warming, and is only expected to rise! The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, part of the UN, stated in their most recent report that we should reduce our CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 and completely phase out CO2-emitting energy by 2100 in order to avoid “severe, pervasive, and irreversible” impacts for both ecosystems and people. Not only this, but Americans use energy so disproportionately that if everyone on earth consumed like Americans, we would need 5 earths to sustain our resource usage. We are consuming more than our fair share, and this is not socially responsible or ethical leadership. Put simply, We must drastically reduce our fossil fuel usage. We must do this in two ways: reduce our total consumption AND phase out fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources like hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, and even other potential renewable energy sources that are undiscovered or still in their research phases.
Campus Conservation Nationals addresses the energy conservation component of keeping our earth a healthy place to live. If we want to reduce our energy usage, we need action. We need action not just from governments and big businesses (although this is very important!), we also need action from socially responsible students, faculty and staff. We need action from you.
What Can You Do?
Leaving a healthy earth for your children to inherit does not need to be complicated. Your actions can be as simple as using natural light in the daytime and using a power strip. There are many things you can do to conserve energy. Here is a list of simple actions you can take to make a difference this April and beyond! Pick as many as you feel comfortable with.
- Unplug everything not in use
- Set computer monitors to sleep after 5 minutes (or less) of inactivity
- Adjust the thermostat to conserve energy
- Turn off all the lights when you leave the room
- Unplug electronics as soon as they are finished charging
- Use a power strip and turn it off OR unplug it when not in use
- Shut down computers every night
- Turn off lights in common areas when you leave the room
- Open the blinds during the daytime to make use of natural light
- Always use the stairs instead of the elevator
- Use less hot water when showering, washing your hands, and washing your clothes
- Take shorter showers
- Use the solar-powered picnic tables between the Foster Rec Center and the Blair-Shannon Dining Hall to charge your electronics while you enjoy the nice weather!
How Can You Get Involved?
In addition to this, we have put together many fun events, competitions, challenges, and initiatives for you to participate in!
- Energy Conservation Certification:Hang this poster on your office door/window to show off your energy conservation commitments:
- Green Room Certifications – Residence Life
- Take the Stairs Challenge: Take the stairs instead of the elevator and enter your flights on our website for a chance to win prizes!
- Hour Without Power: Commit to going 1 hour without power once per week. Go outside!
- Energy Conservation Commitment Instagram Challenge: Make a commitment and post it to Instagram for a chance to win prizes!
- Social Media Energy Trivia: Answer our trivia questions on Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win prizes!
- Ecopalooza: Attend the ONLY solar-powered concert on Campus on April 24th! The event runs from 11:00 am to 8:30 pm on the north mall. Black bean burgers will be served on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:00 a.m.
You can find more information about all of these events on our Sustainability Website!
We hope you will take this month to reduce your energy consumption and carry your new habits beyond the month of April. The world needs you to act!
Missouri State University is committed to keeping our earth a safe, healthy, ethical place for generations to come.
We are flipping the switch in April. Are you?