My wife Ashley and I are sitting on the couch next to each other doing what we generally do. Ashley is reading a book and I am tooling around on the internet. There is one big difference though and that is that the television is off. This week’s green challenge is to go the entire week without the TV. Today, I going to look into why this is a green thing to do and the effects that television has on the environment.
First, and most obvious to me, is that the television uses electricity. I have a 56” DLP monster television of pure joy… and I like to use it. I do understand, however, that it is likely an energy sucker and not the most environmentally friendly product. Of the three kinds of televisions, however, I did learn that DLP is the most energy efficient for its size. According to the awesome television energy waster calculator found here, my boob tube 170 watts and ends up creating 45 lbs of CO2 pollution a month or 534 lbs per year. For this week, I will prevent about 11lbs of CO2 pollution by not watching television. In comparison to 42” plasma that generates 71lbs of CO2 though, mine is friendly to the environment. Ok ok ok, I know that I am just trying to justify my stuff and all televisions help waste our limited resources. Possibly, I will think twice before I sit down to watch an episode of Alf next time!
This does not account for any of the television accessories that also contribute to waste. These days, almost everyone has a cable box, surround sound, DVR, DVD/Blue Ray, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and whatever other gadget happens to be available at the time. These all consume energy and could certainly take up quite a bit of energy.
Also, televisions and television byproducts end up in the garbage. Apparently, old televisions contain poisons and this stuff has the potential to find its way back into the ground or even our drinking water. Not only do they contain poison, they take up space in our landfills. Many cities offer electronics recycling now and I would encourage everybody to take part. So, what does this have to do with me not watching television this week? If I watch less, the TV should last longer and will go into the garbage/recycle loop later.
Finally, I suppose there is also the part that is good for my brain. Sure, the television has some good information in it and some great entertainment, but I recognize that 95% of the stuff on television is crap. Much of the time, our television is just on and we are half watching it while we accomplish other tasks. It could be argued that I would be much more efficient without the dummy box blaring in the background.
Televisions certainly have a valid place in our society, but I also think that it generally has a negative impact because of the amount of junk that is shown on it. I am certainly part of the problem, but this information might change my future television viewing habits and possibly even someone else’s. So, please take a little extra time away from your television… it is good for the environment.