Click here to return to Messiah College's homepage
Green @ Messiah

Why Turn It Off?

 

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

-Psalm 21:1


The Turn it Off Campaign has grown out of a student-proposed project with its origins in Earthkeepers  and The Restoration House. Its purpose is to inspire creative, fun competition among students on campus in the name of energy conservation.

 

The project comes out of a desire for a more holistic relationship between humans and creation and a need for just allocation and use of natural resources. If we really truly believe that the Earth is God's and that the resources he has given us are still his, we should be living differently and distributing his resources fairly to those who live without them.

 

Turn it Off strives to promote energy-saving techniques and to lower overall electricity consumption per capita in the institution’s on-campus apartments.   


What’s the big deal?

Not only will Turn it Off prepare students to receive real utility bills once they leave Messiah College, but it will also help them to tack some numbers onto the amounts of electricity they use. For example, students will learn how much it actually costs to blow dry and straighten their hair each morning? Where does our energy come from anyway? Part of what we’re trying to inspire is a desire to see the rest of the picture. It’s not just changing personal behavior to win something or because it’s cheaper for Messiah, it’s environmental and social justice too!


What’s the next step?

In order to begin to understand personal impact, it is important to be an informed consumer who is aware of the sources that energy comes from. We think it is important to be conscious of energy usage and to remember that it is a luxury to have electric power in abundance. With such a demand, however, there is also a great cost.  

 

Consider the following

Pennsylvania generates much of their energy from coal harvested from the Appalachian Mountains, and the majority of that coal is obtained through Mountaintop Removal Mining. In this type of mining, explosives are used to literally blast the tops off of mountains, creating large quantities of displaced rubble. The rubble removed from the mountaintops is very silty and that causes it to drift, filling in valleys, polluting streams, and causing grave health problems for those people and species that live down stream.  

Another great problem that should be considered is that of environmental racism and environmental discrimination. Families who live in mining areas or industrial areas, often where power plants are located, are not necessarily living there by choice. Large companies will often buy the most inexpensive land on the market when they decide to build new facilities or search for the least expensive way to generate large amounts of power. As the industrial component of the power generation begins to take hold, the families or individuals living there are forced to breathe the toxins, usually unable to move somewhere else to flee the environmental impacts.


More than simply fighting over the land, we are also denying others a just share in the resources that we have.  In looking at the map of Earth at night above, it is very easy to spot areas of affluence as far as natural resources are concerned.  It is, in fact, very common to see that those who have access to and use a lot of power get it from areas that are quite far from their houses.  For example, their is a project in Chile that proposes to run power lines nearly the whole length of the country. Those who are opposed to the project identify themselves as Patagonia sin represas, or Patagonia Without Dams.


We are still in search of new forms of clean energy, or ways to generate energy and fuels without depleting our natural resources or polluting what precious resources we have left. Although scientists will disagree on which forms are most cost efficient or have the lowest environmental impact, most will agree that the rate at which we are using energy needs to change. Decreasing your personal consumption and making more informed personal ecological choices is the best way to do just that. See our Tips and Tricks for more creative ideas on how to conserve energy.