Take a moment and think about how much energy you use in a typical day.
There's your cell phone. It needs daily charging.
Then there's your computer — you know, the thing you're using to read this very blog? When's the last time you shut it off?
How about your car, your refrigerator, or the blender you use to make that morning smoothie?
Over the course of a year, it really adds up.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American household used more than 10,800 kilowatt hours of electricity in 2012. And to generate that energy, power plants need to burn nearly six tons of coal per household just to keep up with demand.
Six tons. Per household.
Makes you think twice about leaving that light on in the laundry room, doesn't it?
And that's why a local environmental advocacy group was encouraging people to go without using electricity and fossil fuels last week during Power Down Week. Organized by Transition Milwaukee, the week of events gave people the chance try day-to-day life less reliant on traditional fuels.
"We might only be able to see our electric bill and the light switch that we turn on. But there is so much more to the picture," said Sarah Zahner, organizer of Power Down Week. "
Events like candle lit board games, a women's clothing swap and a kickball tournament helped participants pass the time away from their tech devices. But, above all, it allowed like-minded people to meet each other, face to face.
"We were asking people to get off the computer and come outside, meet their neighbor and get to know each other at a deeper level," Zahner said.
And even though Power Down Week has passed, Zahner says it is never to late to make some environmentally friendly changes in your own life. Even the smallest adjustments, like leaving the car at home one day each week, can make a big impact.
To hear our interview with Zahner, click the podcast player above.