Mar/10

17

Are YOU in the Dark?

YES! We are in the dark…literally these days and figuratively. Sixty percent of our town on the East Coast had power knocked out last weekend during a completely unannounced and unexpected storm. The power company expects it will be close to a week before we get any power working on our block.

This has been an amazing lesson in the difference of “need” and “want” for my boys. Yes, we have running water, although it is cold, and yes, we have gas to heat the water on the stove and cook soup. No, we don’t have any form of refrigeration to keep food for long periods of time, and no, we don’t have our heating system, but we do have a few fireplaces that are doing a great job to keep our family comfortable.

I am amazed at how long my kids have gone without television (especially after four rainy days and no toy basement to play in without power to light it). It’s like camping at home, and while frustrating and inconvenient, it is a great lesson for both adults and kids.

The most eye-opening part of this experiment is probably how much light a good candle can give off. Five candles can light my entire kitchen, and a small book light keeps me entertained after the kids are in bed.

While I miss access to the Internet (I’m typing this from the local coffee shop!) and hot showers, it is great to think about how much smaller our footprint suddenly became with this natural disaster. This month our bills will be lower, including our gas bill, since our boilers haven’t been lit in days.

From here on out, I will limit the amount of times we run our dishwasher and make sure we have full loads of laundry before we run the machines. I will unplug appliances and accessories after they are used so we don’t pull more energy than we need. I will use candles more often (with many fire extinguishers nearby in the house) and fewer lights to not only help limit my family’s outflow of cash but also our carbon footprint, not to mention help our town’s light pollution so that the stars may seem a bit brighter in the future.

Melissa Joan Hart

Read Melissa’s previous post, A Generation of Convenience.

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