LIGHTS OUT

earthhour.jpgHow many of you participated in “Earth Hour” yesterday? Come on, raise your hands, don’t be shy, speak up and share your experiences!

What “power down” methods did you use and how did you spend your time? Also, do you find time to “power down” more than 1 hr a week?

Didn’t know about it?

Earth Hour is an international event that asks households and businesses to turn off their lights and non-essential electrical appliances for one hour on the evening of 29 March at 8 pm local time until 9 pm to promote electricity conservation and thus lower carbon emissions. It may also help reduce light pollution, and in 2008, coincides with the beginning of National Dark Sky Week in the USA.

For us, urban homesteaders, yesterday’s “Earth Hour” was just like any regular night here on the urban homestead – little or no lights! That’s right, every night is “Earth Night” at our place. In fact, our home is so low lit that when friends visit they think we aren’t home (true story!) Not only do we power down every night, but every Saturday is no/low tech day. A time when we spend time with friends, family, goats and nature!

With the recent “Earth Hour” campaign/awareness more and more folks will hopefully make energy conservation measure a lifestyle choice. Small steps do indeed have big impact!

Wouldn’t it be neat to one day actually see the stars from the City of Angeles? Remember what a star filled sky looks like? Can’t imagine how some city folks go their entire lives not knowing the beauty and awe of a black, starlit night. Only a hundred years ago everyone on earth saw the same night sky. Now it’s polluted with light and only a few handfuls see the sky in its unadulterated glory.

In fact ( I wrote about this sometime back) modern, artificial lights are not only harmful to the environment and energy wasters, but they also have a negative effect on humans. That’s right! No, or low lights are better for your health.

There are many interesting studies on the affects of lightening and health.

Exposure to bright light at night can disrupt the internal clocks that make our various circadian cycles tick. Such cycles affect behavioral rhythms, daily changes in blood and urine chemistry, and the production of melatonin, a hormone involved in wake/sleep cycles and body-temperature fluctuations that is produced at night by the pineal gland. Connected by nerves to the eye, the pineal gland is very light-sensitive, and sudden or continuous exposure to a bright light can suppress the production of melatonin. In the short term, the disruption of biological rhythms can produce grogginess, depression, and impaired thinking.

– Via The Dark Side of Light

Let’s power down and unplug for the health of the planet and people!

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  1. risa bear says:

    We knew about it it, but our lights were off anyway, except one in Beloved’s office (a CFL). I powered down by not using the desktop, and by getting myself a cuppa from the teakettle on the woodstove instead of using the electric range. Also I took a vacation day and didn’t drive anywhere.

    In the winter we’re in bed by eight, anyway; in the summer we garden until as late as ten.

    Not spending a lot of time in front of a TV helps a lot with our energy use, and helps with our time and energy to do things, as well.

    We’ve managed to eat at least one meal a day through the winter from things we grew, and the goal is is get that to three meals a day — 100 foot vhallenge, except that some of what we grow is more than a hundred feet from the house.

    This year we replaced the hot water heater with one that uses half the power of the old old one, and we’re building a solar water pre-heater using the tank from the old one.

    For various reasons we were without a hot water heater for two months this year, right in the dead of winter; our electric bill changed dramatically. We tend to use 3 to 4 KW in summer and 5 to 6 in winter and this january we used 2.9! Wow! But bathing in water from the wood stove is not easy for two employed full-time, so we did get the new heater, which came with an energy saver’s rebate.

    Next we’ll be re-insulating under floor and in the “attic” (It’s a skinny one) and we hope to expand the garden as well. Stay healthy, everyone, and thank you, Dervaes family, for this informative and inspiring site!

  2. Tara says:

    We celebrated Earth Hour in NV by powering everything down and playing Monopoly by candlelight for nearly two hours! It was a lot of fun and we plan to do it much more often.

  3. Robbyn says:

    I’ve often wondered if we returned to the natural cycle of daylight and dark if we’d be healthier and if the seasons would be a better “fit” for us humans. Somehow, the artificial lights being on at night seems to be to be right up there with putting lights in a hen house to extend the egg-laying period…just kind of seems like it pushes things past their natural resting sequence. I wonder if we followed the natural pattern whether people would be more relaxed, more aware of creation around them, work better when it’s time to and play more when it’s time to stop. Just thoughts….. 🙂

  4. Simply.Belinda says:

    Hi Anais,

    We celebrated Earth Hour and without any prompting from me DH said that we should do this every week.

    We will see what happens when push comes to shove and I start turning stuff off this week but it was really nice to have a reason to power down for a while.

    Kind Regards
    Belinda

  5. Eric says:

    My wife thought I was a little crazy but she supported my craziness and we turned out the lights. Both of us were reminded how much we really do rely on our modern conveniences.

  6. Malva says:

    We turned off all the lights and unplugged everything for one hour. We went for a walk outside and came back dissapointed that, aside from the townhouses where we live, it all looked about the same as normal. We had tea and hot chocolate, which I had made ahead and put in a couple thermos.

    The kids thought it was great.

  7. Kory says:

    Some of my fondest memories of childhood were during power outages, sitting on the porch at night, being able to see the stars, playing guitar. Enjoying the silence minus that constant whine and hum from the various electronic devices. This weekend made me realize how much I miss that.

    My parents really drove home the idea that being without electricity is no big deal. People did it for eons not so long ago, and going without for a few hours, days, whatever might do some good. I think its harder in a wired world to teach this lesson today, but darnit I’m gonna try.

    Horray for power outages, preferrably planned ones.

  8. P~ says:

    Much like Tara, we enjoyed games by candlelight. We had a great time, and our kids too asked to do it more often. From the mouths of babes!
    Lights out!

  9. Ann says:

    We participated in Earth hour and also played games by oil lantern light for almost two hours. the only electric that we left on was the fridge/freezer and incubator, everything else was turned off and unplugged, we are planning regular Earth hour nights around here now!

  10. Laurie says:

    Although I wished to flip the circuit breaker at the main, we found middle ground by turning off everything except for the frige and freezer and the grow lights on my seedlings. We let the kids stay up too late enjoying two hours of card games by candle light. When we finally began the bedtime routine, the kids still were reluctant to turn on the lights. We used to have a standard “Unplugged Evening” once per week, but have gotten out of the habit. I think we’ll revive this custom! From different comments I have heard here and elsewhere, it seems that this event has led other families to consider doing this too. Yay! I’d call that a success.

  11. Risa says:

    I have to start by saying I clicked over to risa bears site and it’s freaking me out (could I be a clone?). Seems we share more than just a name.

    I had no idea about this. But we do what we call no power day every Saturday. My husband flips the main breaker off first thing Saturday morning and it doesn’t come back on until Sunday morning. We love it! We play cards, light our home grown tallow candles, and pop popcorn. We have no indoor running water, we heat and cook with wood and passive solar, so we don’t have to worry about much. Plus our tiny cube fridge gets defrosted. It forces the electronic junkies (my husband) to step out from behind the computer once a week. In fact, it was his idea, for that exact reason. Sadly, we are on a break from no power day right now because we are in the middle of hatching this years chickens.

  12. Hannah says:

    I did participate in Earth Hour on the weekend. I was at the national seedsavers conference for Australia, and after dinner and a bit of local entertainment by the mayor of the region, we got out the camp chairs, a candle and a bottle of wine and sat around below the bright shining stars (helped that we were in the middle of nowhere and not in Sydney etc) and talked about the universe, climate change, networking and life. It was great.

  13. Beany says:

    Green Bean originally mentioned Earth Hour, but my husband and I have been powering down at least once every week for the past 4-5 months. I bought some beeswax candles from the market and I love how steady and bright the flames are compared with the massproduced candles sold in retail outlets.

    We don’t do much in the dark. Sometimes we eat dinner and wash our dishes, but mainly we sit together and just chat. Occasionally I knit by candlelight if the pattern is easy.

    I find it easy to go to sleep with candle light. We’re gearing up to power down completely once a week by shutting down our power supply. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem now that the days are getting longer and the temperature more pleasing.

  14. Anais says:

    Thanks all for sharing your POWER DOWN stories. Looks as if everyone is doing their part to conserve energy and even better – enjoying it too!

    To the GOOD LIFE!

  15. LIGHTS OUT | Little Homestead in the City says:

    […] Here’s an entry from last year talking about how we power down […]

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