(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- October is Energy Action Month, a month focused on raising awareness of the critical role energy plays in mission readiness and to drive behavior change. This year’s theme is “Power to Win.”

Electricity powers the modern conveniences we all take for granted - lights, refrigeration, air conditioning, appliances, computer, cell phones, running water, readily available goods from Amazon and now automobiles.

These conveniences allow us to have the time to enjoy leisurely and recreational activities instead of spending it hunting for food, fetching water, scouring books to get an answer, gathering wood for cooking, shopping or walking.

A typical home has 44 kilo-Watts of power available at all times – this is the equivalent of having the power of 586 humans at the flick of a switch without the need to house or feed them.

The sources of electricity; however, do need to be fed and housed. It is widely known that power plants need fuel extracted from the ground and emit carbon into the air.

Not as widely known is that renewable energy sources and associated battery storage, while clean “burning,” require large amounts of land for siting and mining.

Photovoltaic requires 32 acres to provide the annual energy of 1,000 homes that would have otherwise been used to grow food. An electric vehicle’s battery requires 500,000 pounds of earth to be mined. The disposal of expired PV panels, batteries and wind turbine blades present new challenges.

While there is no easy solution to making energy with minimal impact to our planet, there is one simple thing we can all do – don’t waste energy.

Not wasting energy is as simple as turning off the light when one exists a room and turning off all unnecessary devices at home and at work when not in use.

There is only a finite amount of energy sources on this planet – each watt wasted takes a bite out of planet Earth and a bite of food from your mouth, no matter what the source is.