Oprah’s new favorite: Environmentalism

Students can do small things that have a big impact on energy conservation.

Everyone loves Oprah! No matter how rich she gets, she remains nonthreatening, accessible and seemingly incapable of offending. Over her 20-year meteoric rise in fame she has tackled everything from bad fashion to the AIDS crisis in South Africa. Her show’s taste in the life-affirming has posited her as one of the most influential people in the United States, and she impacts millions of people every day.

Recently on her show, Oprah found a new cause: environmentalism. She spent the better portion of a show discussing global warming and what people can do to stem its effects. The show ended with a challenge to every American household to change at least five regular light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps. A challenge that, if met, would be the carbon-reducing equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road for an entire year.

While this idea is not new ” the Environmental Protection Agency introduced the National Change a Light, Change the World campaign in 2001 ” Oprah should be applauded for her effort to bring energy conservation to her massive audience and into the mainstream. By breaking down this issue in a meaningful and powerful way, Oprah has shown true leadership and the power that each individual has.

As one of the largest student populations in the country, university students have the opportunity to show the same leadership. Not only should we be switching to compact fluorescent lamps, which last longer, save money and use less energy, we should also be doing small things that have a big impact on energy conservation.

For example, cell phone chargers that remain plugged into an outlet still suck energy, regardless of whether they are charging a phone. Unplug all unnecessary power cords, and for the next trip to the grocery store, bring your own reusable bag. While you’re at it, buy some toilet paper made from recycled material.