Eco Challenge: Unplugged

You’ve probably heard all sorts of advice about going “unplugged” to help you reduce stress, etc.

But, what does it truly mean to go unplugged?  And how?

Unplugged: How strong is your tether?

To complete this challenge, you need to switch yourself into “unplugged mode,” which entails the following:

Avoid the Internet (of Things) completely, even through engagement with other people or smart devices connected to a network of any kind, including your watch, phone, refrigerator, thermostat, etc.

Unplugged: Complete the challenge.

We want you to engage in three different “unplugged mode” experiences…

  1. Some time in the near future, find a time to go into unplugged mode for an entire day – from the time you wake up in the morning (without an alarm clock, unless it’s chip-free) until you go to sleep that night.
  2. At some point later in the future, find a time to go into unplugged mode for two days straight.
  3. Finally, if you can swing it: at some point further in the future, go three full days (or more) in unplugged mode.

During your unplugged experiences, take note of the changes you perceive about your experience of reality for the duration.  It can help to think about the following questions while you’re in unplugged mode:

  • How do you perceive the world differently without connected digital technologies?
  • What are the different things you think about without connected digital technologies?
  • Is life easier, harder, or both?  How, and why?

In addition to documenting your own activities during these unplugged experiences, you should find time to do some research about the place where you live: the built environments (such as municipalities) and the natural environments (such as watersheds).  

Use this website from the USGS to figure out which HUC (watershed) you live in (obviously this will be done outside of your “unplugged” time frame).

When you’re ready to process and discuss your challenge experiences, consider the following:

  • Gather your notes and write everything up.  We encourage you to sketch as well!
  • Create a video of yourself talking about your reflection of the experience(s).
  • Create a sound recording (like a podcast) of yourself talking about your reflection of the experience.
  • Perhaps create a slide deck with narration.

In any case, your reflection should demonstrate critical analysis of your “unplugged” experience.

Submit Your Work

Once you have completed the challenge, contact the Upper New editorial team via email ( to receive a private link to submit your project at no cost.  

Should the production quality be suitable, and the content themes appropriate, we will follow up with you to publish the artifacts and a meta-narrative about these Eco Challenge experiences in the Upper New Review.