How To Save Energy During Self-Quarantine

Now that majority of us are in self-quarantine/lockdown due to COVID-19, energy is bound to skyrocket, so, in times like these, saving energy is very important. I know that as I am home more, my air-conditioning is on more, my lights are on more, and my technology are on every day.

Whether you are quarantining alone or with family/friends/relatives/etc., it’s important to gather together. I know that sounds rather weird, but the more we gather together, the more energy we save. In the beginning of quarantine I found myself staying in my room more and only really going out to the living room for exercise or meals, but now I’m making sure that I am at least working or doing entertaining activities outside. How does this help? Well rather than being in different rooms, you can focus the main use of energy toward the living room or main gathering area. That way, the energy is reduced automatically and we don’t have to worry about turning off the aircon if more than one person is gathered in one area.

For me I found I was able to spend more time outside when I wasn’t in a Zoom call or recording videos so I spent most of my time outside using headphones when I needed to or even putting music on that was likable by everyone. With that, I was able to turn off everything in my room and during the day when I was in the living room I would only turn on the air-conditioner as there was enough natural light.

As energy is a great contender to the increase in greenhouse gasses, it is important that we help reduce energy even if we might find ourselves making the excuse that we need to have that light source by our side on at all times. Don’t worry, I’ve made that excuse thousands of times. But now that energy is most likely the largest category in my eco footprint, it is the one thing that I know I will be focusing on more as I stay home more.

As I have been in self-quarantine for almost four months now, I’ve found myself being able to reduce my energy-loving self and spend more time outside in the living room and be able to enjoy the abundance of natural light that I usually wouldn’t get in my own room. And not only that, I’m using less light throughout the day and I don’t necessarily need the air-conditioner all the time. Being able to have the windows open and use the cooling wind as it flows into the house makes it much easier for saving energy.

And the amazing thing is that all these techniques are easy to do and can be done anywhere. Of course if you’re somewhere cold, maybe don’t open the windows. Saving energy is amazing, easy to do, and helps save the world and your money all at once.

What are some techniques you guys are doing to save and reduce energy? Comment down below I would love to hear all your thoughts! I’ll see you all soon!

Loves,

Veronica Chen


How The Forest App Connects to Climate Change

When I first heard of the Forest App, I was watching a how to take notes video (because for some odd reason those interested me). I had seen the way many Youtubers used the pomodoro method through this app and I became extremely fascinated by the way they all managed to focus and get on task. At first I had been unwilling to buy the app because it cost $1.99 on the app store, but, I started to see the bonus features of the Forest app and the next day I got it. So what are these features? Let’s dive right in.

I first got this app a few years ago and had also talked about some of the features on one of my blog posts, Five Apps That Have Changed My Habits, but, to give you a rundown of this particular app I might just rant a little bit.

The first feature is the pomodoro method that we are able to use and how it contributes to the climate change. The pomorodo method is focusing for a 25 minute duration and then a five minute break and with forest, you can earn coins. When you add the time, you are adding a plant or tree as the life that is at stake. The more time you add to how much you focus (the maximum time you can focus is for 120 minutes), the more coins you earn in that run. The coins help you buy more plants and trees and one more feature that I’m going to mention later on. The one great thing about this is that when you are in Deep Focus Mode, the moment you leave the Forest App, for about 1-5 seconds of exitting the app, you kill the plant or tree. This is good because it stops you from getting distracted and wanting to check social media or other apps. When you kill the plant/tree, there will be a dead tree in your Planted Forest, showing you that you were unsuccessful. That is my motivation to not check my phone or go off the Forest app so I can keep the plant/tree healthy.

Once you plant enough plants/trees to reach 2500 coins, you can officially plant a real tree. This is the main good feature that I use the Forest App for. So, all those trees you plant in your virtual forest can turn into one real tree. This is great towards the environment when we cut so many trees down that we’re not only harming the environment but the animals that live in such environment. By giving 2500 to plant a real tree, you are giving the people on the other side an opportunity to plant a real one wherever around the world. This is a fabulous program and is something that impacts the growth of the environment and what a difference it can really make for the world.

This is the change that forests need, especially with so many trees being chopped down used for production purposes. By planting trees in the world, we can truly make a difference to our current Earth and make it a better place for the animals around the world and ourselves. This will help reduce global warming and the air we breath and help us live better life.

I am absolutely in love with this app and this feature and will continue to use it even when I’m an adult. It does cost $1.99 on the app store but it is complete worth it. Please go check it out! And if you too like this app as much as I do, like and comment your favorite features and how you use it!

Loves,

Veronica Chen


What Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil Can Teach Us About Our World

As I sit here writing this post, I technically have not finished Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil. It is a hefty book of knowledge of nearly 500 pages and I have been trying to read at least 100 pages a day, however that is proving to be much more difficult to do. Today, I’m going to talk about some key elements that are being taught to us within this book and how it can relate to the world, climate change, and us as a whole.

This book has an in depth knowledge of the tools and materials throughout history (dating all the way back to 1,700,000+ BCE as mentioned on the Addenda on page 447. All dates are roughly approximated which is also mentioned on that page). While this book is detailed with words, there are also images on what some of these tools look like, for example, I didn’t know what The Great Laxey waterwheel was until page 156 where there was a nice image of it. But what does this have to do with anything? Well, this book is detailed in the history of farming, agriculture, fossil fuels, energy, etc., which is something that we in the modern days deal with and this can show us the history of how we contributed to the change in the climate and the world.

What we know about climate change can also be learned through this book, especially the history behind how we got here, 2020, and the technology that has been developed for a very long time. We are taught with the development of fossil fuels, a huge factor of climate change and pollution now, and also how lots of things that are contributing to climate change now, were merely tools to help the world grow back then.

Fossil fuels, energy, Greenhouse Gasses, they are all a part of the increase in climate change and global warming, and those are some of the topics that are within this book. Which is one of the reasons I’m reading this books, to gain more knowledge of the beginnings of the technology that was built for us to use in our present day world. As we dive further into the story, we are given more explanation about fossil fuels and how it adds to the history and in depth knowledge of how fossil fuels started.

Real life changes; going from horses to vehicle transportation are shown here, the usage of technology; air-conditioning, electricity, etc., represent the high energy usage of the modern day world and the opposite, what it was like using tools and the lack of such modern technology. Climate change is a huge topic and answers are still being thought out but we can always start by learning what it was like throughout history without the technology and tools that we have now. Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil really teaches us the different usage of tools and resources that we may not see in every day life. Resources that we overlook and also overuse.

If you’re interested in nonfiction and learning about the world, while this is a thick and heavy content book, I definitely recommend it. Check out my Goodreads for more book recommendations or what I am currently reading. We can always learn more about our world and this book: Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil is a great start.

Loves,

Veronica Chen


My Climate Change Paper On India

Hello everyone, per a request, I have decided to publish my research paper I did for my online class.

Please keep in mind that this was for a class and is in no means meant to be taken in any professional way.

India is one of the world’s highest emitters of greenhouse gasses due to the number of coal plantations they have as well as lack of energy resources. During the time of the Paris Agreement in which India signed in 2016, India had 6.5 tons of GHG emissions. While that may seem low, India was the fourth-largest emitter of GHG while the rest of the world follows. India’s agreement when they signed the Paris Agreement in 2016 was to reach a target of 450 GW  of renewables by 2030 and hopefully remaining under 2°C compatible which is rated by the Paris Agreement targets. While India has been reducing minor GHG emissions, for example, changing gas cars to electric cars, many Indian citizens have mentioned that there has not been many charging stations for electric vehicles which may be caused by the lack in resources they want to use as they are working on reducing the amount of energy and resources to make the electric vehicle charging stations. This makes me wonder if they abruptly lead to the change in electric cars or perhaps informed people that they were selling electric cars and why they sold and used electric cars first rather than first using producing electric charging stations? This is just one of the examples of what India has been attempting to in which there has been a lack of resources, for example, lithium which has been a struggle to obtain in India.

While energy is a big problem in India, when it comes to reducing fossil fuels, India’s coal plantations are one of the largest problems. Indian coal plantations release around 15,000 MW (megawatts) of fossil fuels which is what is holding them back to reducing GHG. At the moment, the Indian government is trying to make the coal tax more expensive and to make sure that they are using renewable energy in hopes to reduce the large numbers of fossil fuels that are going into the atmosphere. By doing so, they are able to keep within their declaration during the Paris agreement in which they signed for around 2°C and above without going below. By promoting renewable energy like solar panels, India is able to generate cleaner and safer ways to utilize energy. They are utilizing off-shore wind, solar panels, and through these renewable sources, they can increase their GW through the use of renewable energy without including any type of fossil fuels. One of the questions I have is how reliable are these renewable sources without using coal plantations which is nearby as one of the things that is stopping them is the use of coal as fuels? Is there a possibility that they will go back to using coal plantations when these renewable resources get too difficult to use? 

India is one of the top emitters of greenhouse gasses around the world and it is believed that while they are indeed using renewable resources, some parts of India are not fully using renewable resources. Coal, which is something that comes up a lot because of the large amounts of plantations around India, have plans to decline its future costs of renewable electricity storage and solar energy by fostering low-carbon investments. However, by investing in these renewable power, they are also using more of its power. In 2017, India topped fossil fuels, signifying that while their intentions to reduce power were working, they were also using more fossil fuels, counteracting the use of reducing power. In 2015, they were below their goal of 2°C, not using as much fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses, however with the increase in population and need to use more energy in India, by 2019 and toward the middle of 2020, they would near their goal of being over the goal of 2°C. By reaching 2°C, this would mean that they have reached their fair share of worldwide use of global effort in order to reduce GHG. By going above their limit of 2°C, they may get risks of unsafe energy use as well as health problems for citizens and the energy systems within India.

While India may be a top contributor to the large GHG emissions around the world, they are imposing different resources that can help India maintain their agreement from the Paris Agreement. As a developing country, India does have the resources to become sustainable with small emissions of GHG and fossil fuels. With the reduction of coal plantations and the increase of solar panels, electric cars, wind farms, etc., which can always be modified for future purposes, India has gone through a slow yet tough few years since the Paris Agreement as they would have to narrow resources down in order to make sure what they are using is sustainable. While the reduction may not always go in a perfectly upward slope and sometimes there would be spikes in GHG emissions and fossil fuels from time to time, India has indeed been slowly decreasing their GHG emissions since 2016.


I hope that you enjoyed reading my research paper and that you learned something new as I did when I wrote this!

Loves,

Veronica Chen