Green Corner: Outdoor activities cause energy use to fall

The colors of the leaves are changing, all your favorite snacks are now pumpkin-flavored, and it is finally chilly enough to put on your favorite sweater. Fall is officially here, which means our local environment has many seasonally beautiful sights and sustainable activities to offer.
By the time fall rolls around, many students are just settling into the routine of school and have forgotten to take advantage of autumn’s treasures. It is important to put homework and studying aside for an afternoon to familiarize yourself with your natural and seasonal surroundings.
Rather than surfing the Internet, playing video games or participating in other indoor activities that rely heavily on electricity, take the opportunity to head outside to appreciate the surrounding natural landscape. Fall in New Jersey is fantastic. Some ideal ways to explore the outdoors during this time of year are bike rides and hiking. The Delaware and Raritan Canal is a beautiful canal that runs through Lawrenceville and Princeton, with trails that are perfect for these activities.
When you leave your dorm or home, do you stop to think about the impact you are making on the environment? It may seem that leaving the house, and all of its appliances, behind for a day might not have a large effect on the Earth. However, by spending more time outdoors, you can save an incredible amount of energy. If all 2,530 residential Rider students left their rooms for a day, shutting off all lights and other electronic devices, there would be substantial energy savings.
Along with the reduced energy consumption, those students who spend time outside would benefit from the endorphins released because of time in the sunlight, according to The Vitamin D Council. These higher levels lead to a better mood and more relaxation, which is something everyone can appreciate while stressing about midterms.
When you leave a room, remember to turn off all lights, unplug electronic devices and turn off any power strips that are not in use. Ghost energy occurs when things like cell phone chargers, floor lamps, microwave ovens and any other electronic devices are left plugged in while not in use. This constant drain can be up to about 5% of your total usage, as stated by the Environmental Resource Council. If no one is using these devices, simply unplug them.
Each and every small action you take can have a strong impact on the environment. Make an effort to carpool, use more natural light than artificial light and spend part of your day in nature. During this cool weather, people often forget to open windows instead of running an air conditioning unit. Shut off your air conditioner or fan. Crack open a window, pull back the shades and enjoy the crisp autumn air.
Go outside today and enjoy this beautiful fall weather by being an eco-friendly Rider University student. The Earth will thank you.

-Gianna Pannullo
Westminster Eco-Rep

Printed in the 10/16/13 edition.

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