Thursday, 23 June 2011

Previously on 24…

We've received some terrific feedback on our project to "go dark" for 24 hours.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

In particular we'd like to express our appreciation to Cyrille Jegu who suggested
we tell people to read their meters every day for a week to see how much energy they actually consume. We'll be doing that, and then measuring after our 24 hours "unplugged".

Cyrille said doing this on a regular basis gives people a sense of scale, and how much they are actually spending on power - and harming the environment.

He also said one thing we should do before "going dark" is to spread the word on what we are doing and generate a bit of peer pressure to maximize our effort. Locking us out from an "escape" clause, we like that. Thank you Cyrille.

He also reminded us that a Low Carbon lifestyle is not just a catchy name, it is a real challenge since we have built and become used to a carbon intensive system and lifestyle.

We are looking forward to more suggestions and tips from Cyrille, a gentleman we have known for a few years and whose experience in this field is second to none.

(But while Cyrille has an encyclopedic knowledge of sustainability - his opinions on Anglo-French history are a bit dodgy. )

We also heard from the Institute for Sustainable Communities who said their experience of turning off lights in China was broader (more people) but far less dramatic (less time "going dark").

They encouraged us not only to document the ways in which you have to make sacrifices, but also the aspects of our day that are more enjoyable/illuminating.

Well, we are planning a number of activities during the day that reflect what we would usually do electronically, and we suppose seeing us suffer in Hong Kong's hottest and most humid season will be amusing…..

As the day draws closer we'll be sharing details of some of the activities and what parameters we are setting ourselves - what modern appliances we can or cannot use.

There does have to be some latitude though. As Shirley pointed out early in the planning for this endeavour, WE are the subjects of the project - and WE are also the film crew recording the event. We're still working on that one.. especially since Cyrille will have a very close eye on our meter reading.

Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions on how to make this a meaningful, educational, and fun project, please do let us know!

Chris & Shirley

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Saturday, 11 June 2011

24 Hours - Going dark

Okay, maybe that sounds a little too Jack Bauer - since we won't be going completely off the grid.

Our aim is to see how much we can do/achieve over a 24 hour period without plugging in the regular electrical appliances - that will mean no TV, no microwave, no cooker, no washing machine, no water heater, and in Hong Kong's hot and humid summer, no airconditioning for 24 hours.

A bit like camping at home - so not such a dramatic leap... and certainly not the same circumstances faced by people who have to deal with this as a fact of life day-after-day.

For us the toughest thing will be to resist temptation to raid the refrigerator or switch on a fan!

But we want to use this as a practical learning exercise, and share what we learn.

For example, what things can we do to make things easier for ourselves?

What things will we be doing during this exercise that will effectively "defeat the object" of trying to cut down on electricity consumption by transferring our carbon footprint from electricity generation to something else equally bad for the planet?

What can we learn that will be practical to continue as part of our everyday lives to reduce our overall carbon footprint?

So, to make it as realistic and meaningful as possible, and of course save as much energy as we can, what guidelines should we set for ourselves?

We plan to film the experience, and tweet and twitpic throughout the day using our mobile devices and laptops - while the batteries last. So when the batteries are dead, I guess we really do "go dark" in the Bauer sense of the expression.

We'll probably have a battery powered radio, and a torch to compliment the candles.

Cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner will be on the barbeque.

What should we try to achieve during this 24 hour period, what tasks, what goals should we set ourselves?

How do we measure our success or failure?

Your feedback very much appreciated!

Timeline: probably towards the end of this month - we need a clear weather window, so an early response will help us prepare!

Chris & Shirley

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Monday, 6 June 2011

Reaching out

Ridealist is delighted to announce that our application for society status here in Hong Kong has been approved and we should receive the official documentation by the end of the month.

After more than two years working entirely on a volunteer - pro-bono - basis, we are now positioned to seriously consider expanding in respect of the services we can provide, and in our geographical reach.

Ridealist partners with small, grassroots non-profit organisations, providing them with video and photographic services to help raise awareness and boost their exposure to potential donors and volunteers.

Experience has taught us that Ridealist fills a critical need within the non-profit sector, a "niche" that the market is unlikely to meet on its own.

While there are some photography and video production houses that successfully operate on a social enterprise model, the fact that they are still a business limits the amount of low-cost or pro-bono work they can do.

Through partnerships with equipment suppliers and companies looking for new and innovative opportunities to expand their social responsibility footprint, Ridealist can focus on impact rather than profit.

But that doesn't mean we are not fiscally aware, we have learned how to make a little go a very long way! We didn't write the book on budget or "guerrilla" filmmaking, but we have read it and taken it to heart!

If you would like more information on how you can get involved, click on the email tab beside this message and drop us a line!

Chris & Shirley Gelken

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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Be the change. Volunteer! - HandsOn Hong Kong

Our latest production on behalf of a local non-profit.

HandsOn Hong Kong Redux.

Be the change! Volunteer! Please enjoy our re-edit of the original HOHK video with new footage, photos and commentary.

HandsOn Hong Kong (HOHK) strives to be the first point of contact for individuals in Hong Kong who want to be involved in community service.

HOHK is a nonprofit organization that actively recruits and manages volunteers to participate in volunteer activities operated by local charities.

Using an international model of volunteerism that has been utilized in nearly 70 cities worldwide, HOHK acts as an intermediary between volunteers and charity organizations.

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