You are probably aware that cutting your energy consumption with small or large lifestyle changes helps the environment, and you have almost certainly noticed that it usually cuts some bills, especially for fuel and power. The reasons to save energy, however, extend beyond the obvious.
The most obvious and immediate reason for reducing energy consumption is probably the reduced costs that result from doing so. Burn less fuel and you will buy less fuel. When you use less electricity and gas in the home, your utility bills become a bit smaller. The more indirect ways of saving energy -- for example, buying goods that are second hand rather than new -- may also save money. While saving the planet may appeal to the socially aware, perceptible monetary benefits may encourage more people to save energy.
Air pollution kills hundreds of thousands of people a year prematurely, according to the World Health Organization. It also exacerbates lung and heart problems and causes acid rain. Air pollution makes a walk in a highly polluted city a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Because air pollution mainly comes from the burning of fossil fuels, and much of the world’s energy is still produced this way, reducing energy consumption helps to reduce associated environmental problems and their negative impacts on everyday living and personal well-being.
Reducing energy consumption can help reduce the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. When it comes to such large-scale global problems, people can feel utterly helpless in the face of a seemingly overwhelming situation. Realizing that small, relatively painless lifestyle changes can help combat global warming is motivating. While one individual can’t save the world, everyone's actions do add up. For example, the average small vehicle contributes about 5 or more tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year. This is instantly reduced by sharing rides with one other person. Other energy saving tips, such turning the thermostat down a couple of degrees, also result in a measurable reduction in an individual's carbon footprint.
Saving energy will help preserve various habitats. The fossil fuels burnt to provide energy have to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is often the home of a variety of wildlife. Some of the remaining oil and gas deposits are found beneath habitats of great biodiversity -- for example, in the Arctic and the almost unknown ecosystems on the sea bed. There is nothing like a charismatic animal or a beautiful forest to get a person to feel motivated about reducing the impacts energy consumption will have on those things.
There are also some more indirect ways that saving energy may personally benefit a person. Some of the ways to reduce fossil fuel consumption involve using another source of energy -- for example, your own body. Good examples are cycling instead of driving and using energy-intensive cleaning appliances less often. The personal benefit here is that you end up exercising more, almost certainly improving your fitness levels and probably making yourself look and feel better. On occasion, saving energy also has positive social impacts. For example, car pooling may expand your connections with other people.
About the Author
Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.