As you probably know by now, the No Impact experiment works by our making our life changes in stages. So far we’ve worked through the self-propelled transportation, no trash, local and seasonal food, and sustainable purchasing stages. I’m hoping to begin the no electricity phase in about three weeks (sustainable water use comes after that).
The bad news is, well, it’s scary! The good news is that I’ve looked everywhere and, as far as I can tell, Michelle isn’t stashing any divorce papers.
By way of a little more to keep our spirits up, apparently
people without electricity often experience a phenomenon known as “second
sleep.” They go to sleep when it goes dark, wake up halfway through the night,
light a candle, get up for an hour, and then go back to bed. They even end up
more rested than people who go to bed later and sleep through the night. From
Ed in the
“Until the modern age…people would retire between 9 and 10 o'clock only to stir past midnight to smoke a pipe, brew a tub of ale or even converse with a neighbor...Others remained in bed to pray or make love…
“Often, people might simply have lain in bed ruminating on the meaning of a fresh dream, thereby permitting the conscious mind a window onto the human psyche that remains shuttered for those in the modern day too quick to awake and arise.
“The principal explanation for this enigmatic pattern of slumber probably lies in the nocturnal darkness that enveloped pre-industrial households — in short, the absence of artificial lighting.”
Most of my years I’ve just lived my little old life the way the people around me wrote it, but now I’m definitely turning a lot of it upside down. You know what? It’s kind of a blast.
But what I really wanted to do with this post is to share a
technology that we’ll be using to non-electrically keep our food fresh—an
alternative to the refrigerator called the “pot in the pot.” I also wanted to
list a bunch of things I haven’t yet figured out how to do without mains
electricity in the middle of
I learned about the pot in a pot from Worldchanging (thanks to them for the photo). Pot in a pot
was developed by Mohammed Bah Abba for use in sub-Saharan
“The device owes its cooling powers to a simple law of thermodynamics. When moisture comes into contact with dry air, it evaporates, causing an immediate drop in temperature. When the water in the sand between the two pots evaporates, the inner pot is kept cool, preserving the goods inside…
“…Abba's project has brought about major changes for many Nigerians: eggplants can last for 27 days rather than three, African spinach can be kept for 12 days instead of spoiling after one day, while tomatoes and peppers stay fresh for three weeks. Food hygiene standards and overall health are improving.”
So, back in the
- Having at least a certain amount of artificial light when the sun goes down
- Keeping cool when the 100-degree days start
- Running some kind of laptop so I can still write the blog and research on the internet
- Doing the laundry without a washing machine
I’m hoping some of you out there have some really nifty ideas (which I’d love to hear in detail, as in, with instructions). Bear in mind that, while I do have access to the roof of the building, I doubt I can put a permanent solar panel up there. I do, on the other hand, have a window that gets full sun for the first half of the day. What do you reckon? Comment away!
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.