A night without lights

I think day 1 was an overall success for me.  Granted, I have been doing this for three years now.  So, I think with time, this does get easier.  Still, it’s not easy enough to do every day (and thus, we only have to do it for a week!).  That being said, I was still surprised by the way my night without lights unfolded. First, I had a meeting until almost 6:30 (professors spend a lot of time in meetings), so by the time I made it home, it was pitch black outside.  I allowed myself two hours of light (and only one light on at a time) for each day as part of my goals, so I got straight to work.  I turned on a light and the computer to check these blogs and submit something that was due (professors also have assignments).  By the time I was done with this, I had 45 minutes left of light and used it to heat up veggie chilli and eat.  It was actually really nice to eat with my partner without the distraction of the tv which allowed us to talk about our days.  By the time we finished dinner, my 2 hours was up, so I moved on to candles.  It was only 8:45pm. So, there I was, in my house with a few candles lit, still unable to use technology.  Hmm…

I decided to finish the book I started in the afternoon.  It was a book about a man from Malawi that decides to build his own windmill so that his family and, ultimately, his village could have electricity.  Ironic.  I was forcing myself to use candles instead of electricity (even though I had it) to read about a boy who was desperate to have electricity for survival.  The book also delved into his village’s experience with extreme famine and how this forced many of the youth to drop out of school.  I kept wondering how long ago this story took place, and once I did some calculations realized that it was just 10 years ago in 2003.  Then I considered when Colin delved into his project, 2007.  It is amazing to think of the vast differences between these two places in terms of what we have and what we take for granted.  I’m considering using it for an ENVS 101 reading in the Spring.  Still undecided.

By the time I neared the end of the book, my eyes were straining.  The candles were less effective, and my dog appeared to have made his bed in my lap.  It felt nice…almost like camping.  But I was ready for bed.  Oh, wait….it was only 9:45! I did not go to bed….but I realized that a night without lights during No Impact Week is a great way to wind down!