Friday, 22 June 2007

Empowering the power down

In my family’s experiment to reduce our impact on the planet by pushing gently against comfort zones, solutions sometimes serendipitously present themselves to us. Last week our analogue cordless phone gave up the ghost so we’ve reverted for a while to a couple of old Bakelite dial phones, which I’d mothballed for sentimental reasons. It turns out these phones are only slightly more inconvenient to use, plus they don’t use electricity to fuel an answer phone - we may have to subscribe to BT’s version if this experiment sticks. Kerching!

Then the light in our trusty fridge also went, and after realising I could remove the unit and order another, I decided that I can perfectly easily see the contents of my fridge without artificial light. Saving two: Kerching!

How about a bigger gesture then? After much contemplation my son and I flipped the trip and changed our dimmer switches to normal old- fashioned ones (most low energy lights don’t work on dimmers). I’ve been putting off this step for years as I’m deeply attached to that sparkly light given off my spotlights, so have cunningly planned the changeover this midsummer to make it relatively painless. Next step is to replace those lovely halogen lights in my kitchen and bedrooms - Megaman does a version but I’ll have to budget in changing the fittings too… soon, I promise! Changing my light bulbs has been more uncomfortable to contemplate than giving up a car. Although, once through the momentary pain barrier you get that pleasure of becoming part of the solution as well as an increasing feeling of empowerment through powering down.

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