Are we too dependent on technology?

pyramidIn a day and age where almost everything runs on electricity – lights, entertainment, cooking, communication – it can be hard to fathom a life without it. From smartphones to Saturday night movies set to dim lights and the scent of microwaved popcorn, power is a part of our everyday lives; we’ve grown accustomed to such amenities, but what happens when those capabilities aren’t available? Whether due to Mother Nature, dead batteries, no signal, or some other unforeseen circumstance, sometimes power just isn’t as readily available as we’d like.

Without our normal everyday access, certain tasks become seemingly impossible – at least at first, like checking the weather or looking up which Grease actor won the most Tonys in 1972. One is left to memory (or, *gasp*, an encyclopedia) and the other requires a technology that was invented more than a century ago: the radio. However, no matter how cave-like life without technology may sound, some days it’s just a necessity.

How Would We Fare?

Should worse come to worst, though, how would we stand up against life without technology in today’s world? Zombie apocalypse, natural disaster, electricity overload – whatever the cause, could the human race make it? How many of us actually know how to build a campfire, build a shelter, and live off the land without looking up instructions online?

It may sound like a long shot, and in all likelihood, when the power goes out, it’s usually only for minutes at a time (sometimes even hours or days), but the possibility is always there that it could be much worse.

A Growing Trend

Ever since inventions such as televisions and computers started making their way into middle class homes, their use has been a part of everyday activity. And, as the technologies grew, so has the amount of use they get each day. Now, it’s normal for users to be on a phone and/or computer the majority of the day. With so much time logged on, however, it’s left few hours for us to contemplate life without such amenities. The more time we spend plugged in, the harder it is to imagine life unplugged.

No matter your stance on electronics and the future, it’s always a good idea to accept the possibility that things can and often do go wrong. Phones won’t get service, TVs will break, and internet connections can be interrupted. While it may not happen often, having a backup plan is a great way to stay prepared, no matter what happens.

Save Energy and Lower Your Electricity Bill without Losing the Tech You Love

Most people are worried about how much power they are using and what their carbon footprint might be. Most people think, “I am just one person, what can I do to help?” I have said this same thing before, then I realized a few easy steps can help me save money and help save the planet at the same time.

You might not already know this, but every gadget you have with a little glowing LED light is using electricity even when you aren’t using them, as do cell phone chargers and clocks.  In this article, I’ll give you some great tips on how to cut your energy use and save some money.

Saving Electricity in the Kitchen

The stove, microwave and coffee pot all have clocks on them. There is not much you can (or should do) about the microwave or stove top clock, but you should keep the coffee pot, toaster, and any other appliance unplugged when not in use. Unless you need the coffee to wake you up, the clock doesn’t need to be set with a bunch of extra clocks in the kitchen.

Saving Electricity in the Office

Computer monitors, even energy star monitors, suck power all the time whether on or off.  Speakers being shut off doesn’t mean they are “off”, either.  Phone chargers are another common culprit.

How can you deal with these devices? It is as simple as using a power strip with an on/off switch. If you have two outlets available, I suggest using two power strips. One strip will have the computer tower and anything else need to stay on all the time. The other strip can hold your monitor, speakers, cellphone charger etc. When you leave for a few hours, just flip that switch and you can completely turn off 3 things while the computer and external hard drive can stay on.

Belkin sells remote control power strips for a nicer version of this same technique. When you need your monitor back, just turn the power strip back on and they will come to life as if you pushed the power button on the screen.  They can also be set to turn off after a customizable period of time, and can make your home safer for devices like heaters and coffee makers.


Save Electricity in the Bedroom

Most people my age they have a computer in their bedroom and the same tips I write in the Office section can be applied.  Unplug devices like laptop and cell phone chargers when not in use, and consider setting your computer to automatically go to sleep after a certain period of time.

Save Electricity in the Rest of Your Home

Utilizing natural lighting in the day is a great way to save electricity, along with using compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs are more expensive than standard incandescent bulbs, but you should not have to replace them for a long time and will use 1/5 of the electricity.  I don’t really like the color of light compact fluorescent bulbs give off, so an idea I have came up with is to use one of each – a fluorescent and a regular bulb in one light fixture.

Basic window insulation can also save on heating and cooling. On hot summer days, keep the shades drawn to keep heat out even though that goes against the previous natural light statement (running a few bulbs is nothing compared to using the AC all day).


While I am not a professional or an expert in the field of saving electricity, I’ve taken the steps I presented in this guide and was able to substantially reduce my electricity bill.  Most of these tips are easy to start doing, and can have long-term benefit for your wallet and the environment.

Image credit: Karl Baron, Jay Reed, Patrick Denker, Eliot Phillips, Dan McKay