Did it really make a difference?


Upon finishing the sustainable behavior challenge I was interested to notice how much of a difference committing to my goal made. It didn’t take much more than a week for the behavior of unplugging my chargers to become a habit.  I realize that now I do it without even thinking. I no longer have to remind myself to unplug.

It was interesting to read about others experiences. I was raised in a household that was pretty sustainable. My mother always bought local, we used our own bags when grocery shopping. I brought cloth bags and Tupperware for school lunches and we recycle everything and anything that we can. Due to this, I think I had an easier time transitioning into a sustainable habit.  Turning off the lights and unplugging has been engrained in me since a young age and I never realized how difficult it was for other people to change their behavior.  Others in my sustainability community encountered problems such as rushing out the door and forgetting to unplug or flip the switch on their power strip, leaving lights, a television and computer monitor on for a whole weekend, and leaving a fan running all day.  These actions would never even cross my brain.  I could never forget to shut off a television or radio when leaving my room because the sound coming from the machine is a reminder. Furthermore, I have always been taught that if you’re not using it within the next couple of hours it doesn’t need to be on. Back home I live in an attic bedroom.  In the winter it is freezing and in the summer it is ridiculously hot. I have an air conditioner for the summer months and a heater for the winter months. I never leave them on if I’m not in the room or am leaving the house. This results in walking into a room of extreme temperatures every time I come home from an outing but all it takes is a few minutes for the AC or heater to be on and the problem is solved.  Granted, this habit was developed in me because every time we left the house my parents would ask: “Did you leave anything on? Is there anything plugged it? Rachel did you turn off your heater?” Reading my peers’ posts made me realize just how lucky I was to have such values instilled in my from a young age.

Having a community to compare experiences really enriched the challenge. I didn’t see the significance of the challenge until I read everyone else’s posts because for me, there wasn’t an incredibly noticeable change. It was also interesting to find articles discussing the minimal effect of my behavior and compare them to the articles found by others discussing how great of an impact it has. I am glad I chose this challenge and I hope the habit stays with me for good.

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