Rethink Power Down Day


The meaning and lessons of Power Down Day need to be considered.

On April 21, Jefferson students experienced the school’s annual Power Down Day. As a part of Environmental Awareness Week, Power Down Day was a school wide effort to conserve electricity and protect the environment.

The school turned off certain lights in the halls and common and teachers dimmed their classroom lights. The morning announcements encouraged Jefferson to save more than 10 percent energy, which was accomplished last year.

While all power saving efforts are important, the concept of Power Down Day needs to be reconsidered.

Why isn’t everyday a Power Down Day?

If it isn’t safe to turn off the lights in the hallway, then it shouldn’t happen at all.  Student safety is the first priority of the school.  Regardless of environmental concerns, student safety should not be jeopardized to make a statement.

However, if dimming the lights is safe, then everyday should be a Power Down day.  While saving 10 percent of electricity one day is helpful, saving 10 percent of our yearly electric usage is a far more significant accomplishment.

Some claim that the entire point of Power Down Day or Earth Day is not the actual saving of resources, but rather to raise awareness for environmental issues.  While raising awareness via activities is fine, the actual saving or resources needs to be a constant effort.  Moreover, turning the lights down everyday would do more to remind students to take steps to preserve the environment.

The problem with a yearly Power Down Day is that it does little to actually help the environment.  In fact, Power Down Day eases our moral conscience and tricks us into believing that we’ve taken significant steps to help the environment.  This false sense of accomplishment can actually backfire and make us feel like no more needs to be done to address the issue.

The solution is for both communities and individuals to take steps everyday to help the environment.  If it isn’t safe, everyday doesn’t have to be a Power Down Day.  However, everyday should be an environmental preservation day.  Things like recycling, saving water, carpooling, and using renewable energy needs to be a norm, not a special accomplishment.

The very fact that we need an “Environmental Awareness Week” to remind us to conserve and preserve our world is concerning.  At the end of the day we only have this one world, and we need to work together to preserve it.

Don’t care about the environment for a week each year.  Care about the environment every day, every year.