Monday, October 08, 2007

the Big Switch Off

Over the weekend, my girl and I signed up for The Big Switch Off, an event encouraging people to create no greenhouse gas emissions for 24hrs.

We were both very excited to be participating, and at 8pm Saturday night, we went around the house turning everything OFF! The fridge, the computer, the TV, the stereo, the microwave, the hot water, the heater - EVERYTHING!

We participated at Level 2, which means that while our electricity and gas mains remained connected to the house, we were drawing no power from them. With a child, I wasn't sure if we'd make it the full 24hrs, either, and Level 2 allowed you to nominate the time period you wanted to pledge to (we nominated 12noon, but didn't turn the power back on til 6pm). We spent a night talking by candlelight, then when she toddled off to bed, I sat in my lounge and marveled at how QUIET the house is when everything is off. I even managed to get some knitting in, by holding a glow stick in my mouth in order to see the stitches!

The hardest thing I found was the lack of music - not only at night, but the next morning. I always have a CD or the radio going in the background, and at first it was a bit uncomfortable for me. The girl was more than happy to fill the aural void, however! Does everyone realise how much an 8yo can talk?!

On Sunday we took the more environmentally-friendly-than-the-car train into the city and hooked up with others participating for a big shindig in Treasury Gardens - with *music* and stalls and an eco-fairy tent (where we seemed to spend most of our time!)

Last night when we bathed, we appreciated the warmth of the water, then the heater to stand in front of whilst getting dressed. We appreciated the hot cup of tea after dinner, and the music we fell asleep too.

And I appreciated the light to knit by so much more than I ever thought I would!


Rose Red said...

Wow - 24 hours without electricity - that would be hard! I quite liked knitting by candlelight when we did Earth Hour (yep, one whole hour!!) but give me electric light any day! Congratulations for making it for that long.

gracia said...

I hang my head in shame for I had every intention of taking part in the Big Switch Off and then I forgot about it. That's right, I forgot... oh, the shame. I sat by lamp light and I played on the computer. A candle was burning, and the lighting is low and atmospheric, but I know this isn't the same. Minus several green points for me. Best be off and water my plants with a bucket full of grey water and, as punishment for my ways, hope that it spills down my pyjama clad leg, leaving the guilty party with a soaked and soapy flannel leg.

see you, g xo

Carson said...

that is some commitment there!
i'm curious about the fridge + freezer, doesn't everything go off? or does it stay cool enough inside..sorry I get fixated on these details :)

kgirl said...

I popped all perishables into an esky with one bag of ice - didn't lose anything, which i was rapt about!

shula said...

Probably about the same as a 13 year old can talk.

Mine says, like, whatever, and y'know? A LOT.

You turned off the fridge?

shula said...

Oh, right.

(read the comments, Shula)

Jo said...

Wow, goodonya!!!

Oi, yeah, I bet she talks as much as my 9 year old. Heaven help us when they become teenagers....

chocolatetrudi said...

I'm always a bit disturbed by this Big Switch Off idea. Not at the idea - I'm all for people being more aware of how much they rely on power and making big companies realise people are concerned about these issues. But to me it also highlights how little the public really knows. Many of the alternatives people use for these events are actually worse - your candles, for a start, are 71 times less efficient than a light bulb and are putting out gasses and pollutants. And another appalling example: an open fire produces more pollution in one night than a car does in a year!

But I do think it's great you had a go and got the whole family involved. I love to hear that people are thinking about these things and making changes. One of the reasons I worry about info about bad alternatives not getting out to people is that it might put people off making the effort - and I'd hate to see that! I want to see good alternatives - like charging up a solar light during the day and knitting by that at night instead of using candles and fires.

kgirl said...

what excellent points you make.

Let's hope that events like this generate enough public awareness and interest to improve everyone's knowledge on the whole picture, and think about what alternatives are the most effective.