#6: FLIP

This is an easy one to get into the habit of doing. Not a back flip (or even a front flip) but remembering to FLIP the switch! You’ve probably heard this a zillion times…turn off the lights. But not just the lights. When not in use, turn off devices, televisions, radios, or anything that requires energy. Bug your siblings and adults about it too.

You could even do an energy challenge with some kind of reward at the end (ice cream, anyone?). Many utility companies provide you with your household energy use details by month. If not, grab an adult and find the energy meter where you live to gather data. Either way, get a baseline of your household energy use in one month. Then, see how much you can reduce your household energy use. Maybe even set a goal – can you reduce your energy use by 5%? 10%? More? This challenge is most accurate if you compare your energy use of one month last year and the same month this year. That’s because households generally less energy in June than in December because June is warmer.

Photo by Raul Varzar

There’s another reason to turn off the lights – wildlife. Turning off both inside AND outside lights at night is helpful for animals. Migrating birds, sea turtles, insects, and more are all impacted by too much light. In fact it has a name: light pollution. The lights disorient animals. They disrupt the rhythms and patterns of natural light and dark. They affect predator-prey interactions. And much, much more. Get more information from the International Dark Sky Organization. Watch the documentary Saving the Dark to learn more. And FLIP those switches because it’s…

#YourPlanetToo.