Friday, March 06, 2009

Power Down Science Challenge

This post from the Google Blog, told me about this video contest. It's Power Down For The Planet.

I recently read somewhere how much electricity this nation could save just by turning off our printers and computers and copiers, instead of just letting them go to sleep on low lower. It was the equivalent of 3 power plants - as best as my memory serves me. So, let's just say ONE power plant (to take the pressure off my failing memory) That's a lot of energy.

The google blog post will start you off thinking about saving power, and then it will send you to the Power Down site. Check out the video contest. Even if your students didn't win a thing the research and effort that would go into making the video would certainly pay off, don't you think?

An alarming statistic that Thomas Friedman mentioned in his talk about his new book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" has been sticking in my mind a lot recently for some reason. One of his assistants mentioned to him, that there will be another billion people on the planet by 2020. (Just ten more years, folks) Give each one of them just ONE 60 watt incandescent light bulb which they will run for just four hours per day. That would be 10,000 megawatts. And THAT would mean we'd need TWENTY more, 500 megawatt, coal-fired powerplants! Does that scare you? Let's say he's wrong. Let's say it would only require 2 more - and we KNOW that with another billion people on the planet that 2 more won't cut it. Scarey, indeed.

Anyway, isn't this a topic worth discussing with your students? Maybe a way to get them more involved would be produce a video for that contest. Or, maybe it would be for them to interview your township or borough manager to find out where they find the greatest waste of power to be, and start a campaign to raise public awareness. Maybe it would be for them to do a study about how much electricity the school could save by installing the motion-detecting lights in the bathrooms, and how long before they'd p[ay for themselves. Maybe it would end up with them just turning their computers off at night. Now, if YOUR students do that, and MY students do that...

I do hope you can find a way to introduce this concept to your students. After all, it's not a problem YET. But it WILL be in their adult lifetimes.

1 comment:

Kelly's said...

As usual...Thanks for sharing my Saturday morning with me Jim