Before completing this reflexive diary I would have considered myself fairly energy conscious. I would have still said I’m wasteful but I thought I was more aware than others. I thought I knew more about the environmental consequences of wasting energy than I did. Completing this diary really opened my eyes to the amount we all waste energy unnecessarily. Almost all of us don’t have a clue how much energy we consume. I had never thought about it as anything more than the lights and the heating at home and I’m sure many others are the same. As the week went on I started to realise more and more how much energy I alone was using in a day, then I began to notice how much my friends, family etc. consume and how much could be saved so easily.
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When thinking about the project I noticed how much the college could reduce its energy consumption simply by making the students and staff more aware and encouraging them to change. However, I also know that even though something like turning off a light when you leave the room is an easy task, it’s very hard to get people to even remember to always try to conserve energy. Convenience is also a big factor. Since finishing the diary I have been thinking that a plan could be made to educate the students and staff of the college on the reasons for energy conservation and showing them how much can be saved from doing so little.
Prior to the diary all I thought about energy conservation was turning off lights, plugging out appliances and so on. I considered myself quite good at saving energy simply because I’d sometimes remember to do these things when I left a room. I would never go out of my way to save energy. As I started to realise as I completed the diary I would only conserve energy as it suited me. I would leave my phone charging all night even though it takes no longer than two hours to charge it fully.
A study done in a paper on energy conservation behaviour shows that in a regional survey taken 85% of people said the energy crisis was serious and another 54.5% believed it was worsening. However, they failed to uncover any clear relationship between energy related attitudes and conservation behaviour (Costanzo et al 1986). It is a big issue when people know about the problem and still can’t be motivated to do anything about it. But, maybe people still don’t know enough. Maybe they just know the problem is there.
When I started the diary I was sceptical of how much it could really teach me. However, even after the first day I found out that I consume much more energy in a day than I first thought. Everywhere I go I am consuming energy. This never occurred to me before that even sitting at a computer in college I would be using so much energy. Electricity from the computer and the lights and the heating in the room. Even the street lights when I’m walking at night, I am using that energy.
After the first day I decided I would make a genuine effort to stop wasting so much energy by the end of the week and try to make a habit of it while I’m doing the diary so I’ll still conserve energy when I finish the diary because it’s a lot easier cut back when you’re recording all the energy you use. I tried to make a habit of doing the simple things and I got better as the week went on. I stopped leaving my phone and laptop charging for hours after they were fully charged. I turned off the monitor screens on computers in college when I was finished with them and didn’t just leave them on standby. I did the same for televisions and other appliances at home after learning that leaving things on standby still wastes a lot of energy. When washing dishes, I started filling up a basin with water and not just leave the tap running the whole time I was washing the dishes. As the days went on and the more conscious.
I became about my energy consumption I was less wasteful. I was also aware that this was because I was completing the diary so I was always thinking about where I could consume less energy. In the article “Rising to the challenge of environmental behaviour change” it states that “study has suggested that the process of reflection and learning are key to household pro-environmental
change.”(Reid et al, 2011). The diary is a great starting point for learning more about energy conservation and changing your behaviour towards conserving energy. It certainly was successful with me in changing my attitudes and behaviour even after I completed the diary.
Since I have finished the diary I am now always aware of the amount of energy I am consuming and I am always looking for more ways that I can conserve energy. Even the simple things like never being too long in the shower that would have never crossed my mind before doing the diary. In relation to my project completing the diary has showed me that raising awareness is not a hard task as long as people are willing to participate. The study done in “Rising to the challenge of environmental behaviour change” shows that awareness increased specifically from the task of writing the diary.
From my experience this is because you can’t help but think about how much energy you’re consuming while writing the diary when normally you wouldn’t pay any attention to the fact that you’re even consuming energy. The diary creates awareness where previously there was none and if you were already aware it still helps to encourage you to behave more pro-environmentally. (Reid et all, 2011). If you got students to track their energy consumption with some sort of diary I believe that it would change a lot of student’s attitudes and behaviour towards energy consumption.
In my opinion many students have little or no knowledge of energy consumption and they just need to be made aware of how much is being wasted. In a past study done at University of Michigan it revealed that one quarter of students never turned off the light when leaving a classroom (Marans and Edelstein 2010). If students could see how much there could be saved in a way that they will understand I think it would motivate them to change.
If you can get some to change at first it is likely that more will follow in time. One paper looks at the idea of getting people to change through social grouping on the theory that people don’t like taking on new things or changing unless they see success with it first (Costanzo et al, 1986). If students see how their friends are conserving energy by doing only simple things and they are aware of the benefits it has, then, by a “process of imitation” (Costanzo et al, 1986) people in their social groups will begin
This diary has made me think that for my project I should look into finding ways of showing students how much they waste and how easy it is to save in a way that they understand and a way that will motivate them to change their attitudes and behaviour. In a study done in the University of Michigan it was suggested that posters be advertised in common spaces where they will be seen and that the posters should be simplified (Marans and Edelstein 2010). This is certainly something I am going to suggest as one of the steps for raising awareness in my project. This is because I changed so fast simply because I was becoming more aware of how much I consume and how easy it is to save energy.
In conclusion I would say the diary was successful in making me act more pro-environmentally. I am glad I was made aware of this problem because it can be solved we just have to educate more people on the issue and make an effort to change. Using tools like this diary are a very good way of raising awareness and after my own experience completing it I would say using something similar to this is likely to make students change the way they think about energy consumption. Even if it starts with a small change in their consumption of energy in my opinion people will only improve the more they learn about the benefits.See More on Energy