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

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 23, 2009
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turn off wireless

“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.

indoor air pollution

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.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & 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, is now available.


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

  1. Joana Smith says:

    OMG! ! ! Why aren't more people pointing this out?

    Waylon, did you ever think about having top things you can do to save the planet as a sidebar on the mainpage?
    Just for the people who drop by casually.
    People don't know all they don't know.

  2. Drishti says:

    Wireless internet… who woulda thought? Some things just become so ingrained in your day-to-day lifestyle that it's hard to step back and realize the negative effects they may be having on the environment and human health – and the incredibly easy way to change those effects. Thanks for sharing!

  3. sj* says:

    thank you! wireless: can't live with it, can't live without it…..we are all indeed nuking ourselves. as the chevron billboards say "i will unplug stuff more."

  4. Ann says:

    I am concerned about the health risks of wi fi. I sit right next to our router every time I am on the computer. Wearing silk is supposed to help. I wear a silk shawl at my desk and I've thought about wrapping the router in it.
    As far as the energy drain, we do turn ours off when not in use. I wish our neighbors would do the same. Thank you for the reminder about phantom loads. I will make more of an effort to get things on a power strip for easy turn off. Such small things, but if we would all do them….

  5. Katja says:

    Mothering magazine had an article a few years ago about how they were planning on reducing their carbon footprint and one of their suggestions was using a power strip to plug in computers, routers, cell phone chargers and printers that could easily be switched off when not in use. I am posting this article to my Facebook to get the word out for those people out there who are attempting to go green, but haven't even considered the implications of their technology use. Thanks for a well written article.

  6. […] off, many of us mute them (so you can still hear still vibrating phones from time to time, and the subtle radiation from phones is everywhere), and some of us, like yours truly, have given up the notebook and pen […]

  7. Doug says:

    I'd like to offer a different perspective to anyone for whom this is an important topic. Go vegan. The single most impactful change we can make in our lives to curb global warming is switching to a 100% plant-based diet. (And there's plenty of documentation (including a recent UN report) to back that up.) Turning off our wireless internet at night and using different light bulbs are great ideas, but in the big picture, they don't have anything near the value to the planet that changing our diets has.

  8. Randall Smith says:

    thanks for the reminder….very very important!

  9. Ben_Ralston says:

    Power strip idea good. Me likes.

  10. rico says:

    Put your router on a timer then you won't have to remember to turn it off

  11. Viv says:

    What about the impact on our bodies? We are worth doing it for.

  12. great points altogether, you just gained a new reader. What would you recommend in regards to your post that you made some days ago? Any positive?

  13. […] #3. Leaving the wifi on when not in use. Health concerns and bee issues aside, there’s no reas… […]

  14. It is actually a great and useful piece of information. I am happy that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  15. guest says:

    no, you are not nuking yourself. there is no evidence that electric polution is a problem. (and no, you can't be allergic to the waves) But I am all for saving power.

  16. guest says:

    if you feel the buzz, it's psychological. studies have shown that those things are not real.

  17. Great article. I’m dealing with some of these issues as well..

  18. Ron says:

    My electrical usage is low, even with the wireless router's powerstrip on, but I am concerned with wifi radiation emanating one room away from my bed. I discovered that my router (supplied by Verizon FIOS) has a scheduling feature, which I used to reduce the wifi output power from 100% to 1% from 11pm to 7am. Works perfectly.

  19. High Plains Drifter says:

    FYI, it’s only going to get worse.

    SONOS speakers and Philips HUE lights use wifi bridges to ride shotgun on your network. Expect more products every day that require such support.

    Even modern washers and dryers sit there in standby mode all night. No idea how I’d get a surge protector accessible back there.

  20. Bob says:

    There is evidence, lots of it, that microwaves (WiFi uses 2.4 &/or 5.0 GHz) are harmful to human health. You’re just not looking hard enough to find it.

  21. Bob says:

    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…

  22. Guest says:

    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?

  23. Kev says:

    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.