Sunday, June 6, 2010

Another Day in the Dark

I don't want the Mycelial Network to turn its focus too much towards sustainable living but I mentioned here that to observe Earth Day back in April I was going to go a day without electricity. I tried the same thing again yesterday and I wanted to just jot down a few reflections and things I've noticed.

First I was definitely right about the most annoying things being no music and no photos. I listen to music almost constantly, especially when I'm not at work, and not being able to do that is quite annoying. I try to see it as a good thing and just pay attention to what's around me more, though. I could hear sounds from outside all day. Sometimes this was nice, like when those sounds were bird calls. But other times it was a little awful like when all I could hear was a yard tool buzzing.

Second: I've noticed that I just plan around it in a lot of ways. I get computer use out of the way the night before and I save things that don't use electricity to do on the day I'm not using it like reading my comics for the week. It doesn't necessarily mean I haven't used slightly less electricity (I probably would have been listening to music while reading comics on an ordinary day) but it still doesn't feel like that much from a sustainability point of view. I also used more gas. I did everything with the stove instead of a microwave or electric coffee pot and I actually have no idea which is better. Usually with these things it's tough to disentangle all the factors that make both bad for ecosystems.

I also did my fair amount of cheating. I decided I wouldn't buy anything this time, to put a further restriction on my consumption. But then I decided I really needed a loaf of bread and I was going to buy that loaf of bread anyway so I was really just inconveniencing myself and not reducing any consumption by not buying it that day as opposed to any other day. So I went and bought it. I still managed not to buy anything I could really avoid: no Dunkin' Donuts coffee, for example.

Lastly, I've noticed a significant urge to start using immediately after the day is over. I don't usually flip my computer on in the morning before work but here I am, checking my email and writing a blog post because I couldn't do that yesterday. I guess it more or less evens but that's not the intention: the intention was to prevent some consumption from happening at all.

All in all I think my strategy of adopting less extreme forms of reduction and sustainability into my life that I always stick to instead of practicing a low impact "sabbath" may make myself and the planet better off. I saw yesterday's overall "impact" as more for myself than for any ecosystems. For now, though, I'll continue to try going the day with reduced consumption now and then and see how it evolves.

1 comment:

  1. Off the top of my head...microwaves are actually much more energy efficient than cooking on the stove. Also, one thing that I've thought about is that rather than not using any electricity at all, maybe just use less at home. So much energy consumption is in the house, that if you get outside, or even if you hang out at night at a bar or use a laptop in a cafe, you use alot less energy per person.