March 23, 2009

Every night + Whenever not in Use, Turn off your Wireless Internet. For our Environment and your Health’s sake.

“Saving the Planet” is like trying to diet after binging. Let’s take it one thing at a time, every day.

Would you sleep with your head near a microwave? A TV? No? Why to turn off your wifi, every night.

A couple years ago, a gentleman by the name of Paige Jacques wrote an article for elephant journal, then a magazine, about how to reduce indoor air pollution. In six plus years of publishing a magazine, it’s one of the ones that’s stuck with me, altering my daily behavior in various ways. One thing I do because of him—and something that almost no one else does, even environmentally-aware folks—is turn off their wireless whenever not in use.

Most homes have wireless internet, these days. If you live in NYC, or any city, you’ll have literally 20 or so individual wireless networks in range of your computer. In Boulder, on the University Hill where I live, there’s “only” five or six at any given time.

If you’d like to save electricity—which is energy, which is a precious resource at the root of many of our wars on each other and on nature—and if you’d like to protect your health, which to some minute degree is probably effected by electro magnetic waves, you can put your wireless router etc on a power strip. Many of you already have. Then when leaving your computer, going for a walk, or most importatly going to bed for a good eight hour stretch, you just turn it off with the flick of a single switch. You’re also doing your neighborhood a small favor, by reducing the overall electronic pollution.

Then, when you want to get online again, all you have to do is switch it one. The lights will flash, and by the time you’re sitting at your computer your wireless network will be active again, full speed.

As to health concerns, wireless appears to be much less a threat that cell phones, which are continuously transmitting full strength (don’t sleep within say six feet by yours if it’s on, I remember Paige told me—I turn mine off every night, in any case) and microwaves. I found this helpful article online by Paige Jacques, and hopefully soon we’ll get our article live on this site again.

Oh, wait, here it is. Brilliant article. Read it and, if so inspired, change your behavior for the better—for our environment and your health’s sake—that’s what this green stuff is all about!

PS: Via CasaSugar, excerpt on the eco half of the equation:

Basically, any time you have a piece of electronic equipment that is plugged in but in standby mode, it’s leaking lots of power, wasting energy, and running up your electric bill. And according to Treehugger, it’s not a paltry amount: The EPA estimates that 75 percent of energy used in the average home comes from appliances that are thought to be turned off but are merely in standby mode.

Similarly, phantom loads are also created when chargers for cell phones and other electronics are plugged in with nothing attached to them.

To solve the problem, plug your chargers and standby electronics into power strips, and when you’re not using the devices, turn the power strips off.

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Kev Feb 19, 2016 11:04am

This is possibly playing devil’s advocate around here but with my day job I wear a Systems Administrator hat. I’d just like to point out that we are being bombarded by radio waves from millions of sources that are out of your control. Cell towers, AM/FM radio stations, mobile hotspots, microwaves, satellites, even cosmic radio waves from pulsars, stars, and other galactic phenomenon including Gamma Rays. Turning off your home wireless won’t do anything unless you can shield yourself from every single source of electromagnetic radiation. P.S. Fire is also a type of Electromagnetic Radiation.

Guest Apr 10, 2014 1:55pm

I'm thinking about buying a Samsung smart tv with built-in wifi. I'd like the option of turning wifi transmitting completely off when watching cable or a dvd so as not to be bombing my daughter in the next room with radiation. (I already unplug the router when I'm not using it.)

Will choosing "wired" instead of "wireless" on the tv accomplish this?

Bob Feb 16, 2014 3:27am

EVIDENCE: I have a client who i advised against having her wireless router sitting on top of her tower, under her desk. After only 2 years of this, she had to go into the hospital to have a massive tumor removed from her thy – in the exact spot where the router was placed. After she came home from the hospital, i noticed the router was moved far away from her desk…

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.