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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Institute for Sustainable Communities said...

Chris & Shirley,

Sounds like a great experiment, and we look forward to seeing how it goes!

Our experience of turning off lights in China was broader (more people), but also far less dramatic (less time "going dark"). But for us, one of the keys to success was emphasizing what people were gaining, rather than what they were giving up. So we would encourage you to not only document the ways in which you have to make sacrifices, but also the aspects of your day that are more enjoyable/illuminating.

Good luck!!

Chris Gelken said...

Thanks for your comment. Yes, we are putting together a list of activities to make this a fun event.