Sunday, March 30, 2008

Our Saturday Night "Earth Hour"

I didn’t learn about Earth Hour until Friday, when an email message arrived from M’Powering Madison. But it was still fun to participate — a Reuters article suggests we weren’t the only ones: 380 towns and cities in 35 countries, including 3500 businesses and up to 30 million people tuned off non-essential lights for an hour yesterday, to call attention to global warming. I also noticed Gooogle pitched in by “going dark” on their search page (with an all-black background and a link to an event description) to draw attention to the event.

A contrarian blogger noted candles emit more C02 than the average bulb. I wasn’t sure I believed this, but I decided we would forgo candles as well. For light during Earth Hour at my house, we just used a crank-powered flashlight propped up on a table. The nice part, though, was the opportunity to bring out a hand-cranked radio I received for Christmas a few years ago. It worked great — we even received Radio Havana’s English service on a very clear signal on one of the radio’s shortwave bands. After the international news from Cuba, we explored the dial and stumbled upon a CBS Studio One radio play from the 1940s: Marcel Pagnol’s “Topaz.” The local NPR station runs Old Time Radio Drama on Saturday nights — I have to say, we were immediately hooked and extended Earth Hour an extra half hour to hear the end of the program!

It was easy — and fun — to unplug everything and just chill out with the radio. I also loved that our light and radio were running on hand-cranked power. Now I’m curious to find out if I can locate some solar-powered or other non-electric lights, even small ones, so we can do this more often.

Today’s mitzvah: How might you make energy reduction fun today?


Melissa said...

I just love Old Time Radio! No--or reduced--electricity really makes us live more intimately, doesn't it?

jen x said...

Melissa, I sort of half-knew it was on, but I thought it was all Westerns! I didn't know they ran a wider variety of programs -- I think I'm hooked :-)