Columns, Opinion

RUTH: This little light of mine

I never thought I’d say this, but my double situated in a South Campus brownstone is too large. I have way more space than I need and I often find myself having the issue of deciding where to put things because there are just too many options. And for the record, I’m not being sarcastic.

Despite my woes, the sun enters the two windows in my room at a perfect angle and at times, I feel like I’m sun tanning on Miami Beach. But once it hits nighttime, my room becomes a cavernous abyss.

The pitiful ceiling light in the center of the room isn’t powerful enough to illuminate the entire room. It actually conveniently lights up the center portion of the room that is unmarked territory. So, I’ve introduced two more lights into my corner of the room so that I can actually see. My roommate has done the same.

If the ceiling light in my room didn’t have the capacity of a headlight in dense fog, then we wouldn’t have to waste all of the excessive electricity that we do on a daily basis. Or perhaps, having a slightly smaller room size could alleviate this issue.It’s not rocket science why Nelly Furtado sang a song about turning off the lights. It’s a cool thing to do. After all, electricity is empowering (cue rimshot, please).

Upon walking into the environmental student lounge on the fourth floor in the College of Arts and Sciences this past week, my hand automatically reached for the light switch. To my surprise, there was a guard over it. The switch could only be accessed from the sides of a plastic guard. My mind gravitated toward the little note underneath the light switch.

“Do you need electricity to see? Are the blinds up? Cut your electrical use by only using lights when you really need them.”

People have become so accustomed to turning on lights when they walk into a room that it is almost second nature. It’s almost how people say, “How are you?” while they pass you on the street. After thinking twice about turning on the light, I decided to keep it off. I put the blinds up and caught some rays of sunshine while I lounged. According to [email protected]’s webpage, Boston University consumed 204,007,645 kWh of electricity in 2013. I get that Boston University is a huge institution, but this is still a giant number.

On Saturday, an event created by the World Wide Fund for Nature called Earth Hour took place, in which millions of people across the planet switched off their lights from 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Of course, you might be thinking “oh boy, here’s another ploy by the crazy environmentalists to bring us into the dark ages,” but I assure you that #EarthHour isn’t as drastic as you think.

Iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House and the Hong Kong skyline participated in this event, so surely, your non-essential lights can as well. There are little ways that we can reduce our electricity use while still making a big spark in the realm of sustainability. After all, in the darkness, we shine brightest.


Jennifer Ruth is a College of Arts and Sciences junior. She can be reached at [email protected].


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