You are very lucky to be born at a time when technology is so exciting. There are new inventions all of the time. Maybe you have an idea for one! Whether for school, for chores, or for fun, it's hard to get through the day without using something that involves a computer or computer chips. All of these things are great, but we can't forget that they use a lot of energy. Almost all of the wonderful machines that help us cook meals, keep us cool, entertain us, and keep us connected with others use electricity or rechargable batteries. Why should Fort Lauderdale's students care?
Despite what pictures of Benjamin Franklin would have us believe, our electricity doesn't come from lightning bolts. In most cases, it is created in large power plants that use different kinds of "fuels" to run machines that generate the electricity. (That's almost too simple an explanation, so click here to see a better one.) Sometimes the fuel isn't really fuel at all, such as when the power of the wind or of the ocean is used to make electricity. There is also solar power and nuclear power both of which cause chemical reactions that cause the generators to work. You can even burn up trash in special machines to create electricity, and that's something that we do here in Fort Lauderdale. But power plants are huge, and very expensive to build. It takes a long, long time to design, plan and build a new one. Just ask the people from FPL; they're in the process of doing that right now. In the meantime, most of our power plants still run on fossil fuels like coal and oil. Using these to create electricity emits harmful greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.
So what can a kid do about giant power plants and fossil fuels? You might think not much. But the truth is that YOU DO HAVE THE POWER to change the way we use power. And that's important.
What You Can Do
The number one thing that you can do is to conserve energy. That means use less of it. At your age, the two best ways to do that are to:
- Turn things off, and
- Unplug stuff when you are not using it.
You can also help by reminding the adults around you to do the same, and by pointing them to our webpage on Energy Conservation.
Try these fun websites to figure out how much energy you are using every day and to learn new ways to conserve!
Watch a National Academies of Science Videoon America’s Energy Future
Visit the EPA’s Energy Star Kids page to learn more ways to conserve.