While the environmental impact from fuels like gas and coal are well-known, Japan has now set its sights on folks who burn the midnight oil. In hopes of reducing the nation's carbon output, the Japanese Environment Ministry has launched a campaign that may be crucial to laying CO2 emissions to rest--by encouraging people to go to bed earlier. Falling asleep just an hour earlier than usual, while it may seem like a simple solution, could have a profound impact on how much energy is consumed, and hence, how much carbon is produced. And who knows, maybe it'll help make everyone a little greener.As much as 20 percent of the energy used to light homes across Japan is consumed in that final hour before sleep, reports The Telegraph--and it all adds up. According to the campaign, the average family could reduce their carbon footprint by 85kg each year just by winding down earlier in the night.
While many people may find the evening to be their most productive time of the day, plenty of folks really aren't up to much in the night. A spokesperson for the Environment Ministry explains:
Many Japanese people waste electric power at night time, for example by watching TV until very late. But going to bed early and getting up early can avoid wasting electrical power which causes carbon dioxide emissions. If people change their lifestyle, we can save energy and reduce emissions.
Of course, falling asleep earlier isn't the only way to reduce electricity usage at night. Installing high-efficiency light bulbs, turning lights off when they aren't needed, and otherwise practicing an eco-conscious lifestyle are all ways night owls can carry on without having to feel guilty about their carbon emissions.
Still, setting the alarm clock to go off just an hour sooner in the morning is a great way to take full advantage of daylight, perhaps by taking a walk in the park--since connecting with nature may be a better energy booster than coffee. And besides, we all know that the early bird gets the worm, and, well, night owls get commercials for the snuggie.