An announcement about a couple of my upcoming public talks at the bottom, but first...
If you follow the No Impact project at all, you know that we have had no mains electricity now, in the middle of Manhattan, for six months or so. Also, you'll know that the project--at least in its current incarnation--comes to an end in about three weeks.
It's 7:45 PM and I'm typing here in the
nearly dark (it rained so much this week that my one solar-powered lamp has just run out of juice). As the sun recedes during the move towards winter, I've stopped enjoying the no electric lights, though it was totally fine in the summer.
I've found myself looking forward to turning the electricity back on. I'm guessing we'll end up using about 15 percent of what we used to before the project (more on that in the coming weeks and months), but the real point is that I've felt utterly guilty and ashamed about wanting to have my bedside reading light back.
Finally I realized, first, that I'll be using way less electricity than most households but more importantly, second, one of the points of this experiment is to determine what is realistic and what isn't when it comes to sacrifices people might be willing to make.
Some of the adaptations of the No Impact project made me happier and some made life too hard. That can be a guide moving forward in terms of what adaptations people might realistically be asked to make. If we're not realistic, we'll be laughed out of court.
So concrete result number one: Moving forward, I'm willing to live without A/C, the TV, a freezer, incandescent lights, probably the clothes dryer, and hot water in the laundry machine. I'm not willing to live without CFL lights in winter, the laundry machine using cold water, the fridge set at 45 degrees or so, once a week use of a vacuum cleaner.
These are the differences between feeling like I'm making a horrendous sacrifice and not. But they make a substantial difference in the power I use. These anyway are some cobbled together thoughts about the future. I'm not there yet, so we've yet to see for sure.
On the other hand, maybe I'll use the money we've saved this year to buy a Hummer....JOKE!
Starting November 4th, New York University is running program called Footprint Forward, in which a couple of hundred students will be trying to live with no net environmental impact for a week. The program includes a bunch of cool environmental talks and events. Also, I will be running a workshop on no impact living at the beginning of the week and giving a 45 minute talk at the end of the week. The entire program is open to the public. To sign up for any part or to find out the schedule and more, go here.
Don't forget that the National Day of Climate Action, where we get to let the legislators know that we want action on the environment, is coming this Saturday, November 3. Click here to find your local event.
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.