…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
The night before the Earth Hour day I went round my house and switched everything off except for the fridge. I also put a cloth on the handle, to remind me not to open the door… which would turn the light on! I’m silly I know.
I had checked the weather online the night before and it had informed me of rain first thing until 9am, and then rain from 5pm onwards. But as I looked out my bedroom window in the morning it was grey and horrible.
I had considered spending the day out on my bike, but looking outside made me reconsider: “would that really be fun?” I will cycle in all weather, but generally I have somewhere to be, on this day I did not, and so I couldn’t find it within me to drag myself out there. It was wet and windy, and it was around 11 degrees Celsius in my room. I usually have computers on around my house participating in SETI@home and keeping things warmer, today I didn’t wake up to that luxury – it would be a day of fleece-wearing.
My usual breakfast consists of porridge and a cup of tea. Since I couldn’t use the microwave or kettle to provide me with these things I resorted to cold toast (i.e. bread) and jam, and a glass of milk. The butter was in the fridge and my reminder on the handle of the appliance prompted me to switch it off before opening. I then went back upstairs and ate in my warm bed, and then read for a while – thankfully it was bright enough. After that I spent the day tidying round the house, sort of a spring clean and a de-clutter. For my elevenses I couldn’t have a cup of coffee (this would be a tough day!) and for lunch I had sandwiches. I wasn’t going to deprive myself of a cooked meal in the evening though – while the idea of Earth Hour itself is to not use energy, trying to spend a day like this one has to be realistic and consider what is sustainable and be mindful of what energy we use, so I cooked my meal as usual, but nothing lavish (I rarely do lavish anyway).
It’s all to easy to switch lights on out of routine and forget that our appliances, like fridges and broadband routers, are useful to us, but they do consume energy after all. I was also mindful of battery-operated things too, like my phone – to switch these things on would be to forget that the energy within them has come from somewhere, even if my phone was charged up the day before.
While my day up until the point of cooking my evening meal had been without using energy, from that point I became more relaxed. A two hour radio program I like was on in the evening so I switched the computer on in my bedroom to listen to that, and since my computer gives me access to a world of stuff (Second Life) I had further enjoyment out of using electricity, plus it added a couple of degrees of warmth to my room. After the radio program finished though I lit some candles, switched everything off (including the fridge this time) and sat in bed and read. Earth Hour itself would pass by this way as it had done for previous years.
Part the way through the hour the candles decided to overflow their tray – luckily I heard the drip drip dripping (a good reminded never to leave candles unattended) and I grabbed the torch next to my bed to see where the wax was going… luckily not too serious.
At the end of Earth Hour I went downstairs and put the power back on but kept things to a mindful minimum while I read in bed. I also had warm porridge before bed (it keeps me warm and hunger free through the night and gives me the energy ready for the next day).