Kauai Power Down - Round II

SUBHEAD: Results for Round I. Now inspire others to take action in Round II by spreading the word.  

By Jonathan Jay on 13 January 2012 for Island Breath - 
Image above: Power Down - Round Two graphic fro Jonathan Jay.

And the first reports ore just coming in from our very successful Inaugural Kaua`i Power Down Challenge. Something over 100 people participated - congratulations Kaua`i! The goal in this first Power Down was fairly straightforward - for just one day, use as little grid power as you could muster. And participating in Power Down is as easy as doing - nothing at all! On average folks seemed to use something less than half their normal power consumption.

Not bad, for the first time trying to Power Down! If you powered down, but have not made your PD! report yet about your experience, please send email to jjkauai@gmail.com and your excerpts of your story will be posted on the P2P website www.p2pKauai.org

Hopefully, as we all share our insights and lessons learned, we can all learn from our experiences. Perhaps with one round under our belt, next time we can POWER DOWN that much further! How low can we go? Until we ALL try, we╩╗ll never know! Your assignment if you accept it: find 10 people who missed Power Down I, and plug them into Power Down II Sunday February 12.

The objective of Power Down Round One, was simple - just to test-drive a new concept. Many people pulled their plug off the grid for that one day, and are helping clear a new path forward. Away from mindlessly hyper-consumptive lifestyles, and toward a wise integration with our environment. However, for some people, Power Down I snuck up too fast - maybe you wanted to, but just forgot... well have no fear - we do it again! The goal this time is apply lessons learned from Round One, and to get the word out and inspire more people to jump into the fun in: POWER DOWN II Sunday February 12.  

WHAT: Pawer Down: Round II - spreading the word - growing the movement  

WHEN: Sunday, February 12 all day  

WHO: You - your Ohana and friends  

WHERE: Start in the comfort of your very one home.  

WHY: Unplug from the grid; plug into the world  

INFO: On the web visit www.p2pKauai.org on FaceBook search: "Power Down" or "P2PKauai"
"In the experience of emptiness... we realize the ungraspable nature of reality and let go of our illusions; our sense of separation from what we want vanishes -- and with it our desires." - Edwin Bernbaum, The Way to Shambala
And speaking of inspiring, here is one such PD! report from Kauai journalist Joan Conrow. Way to Power Down Joan!  

By Joan Conrow on 9 January 2012 for Kauai Eclectic - 

 Reclaiming Life
The approximate time was last evening, and we were sitting on the beach, preparing to eat a picnic dinner, or more accurately, I already was; my friend was fiddling with a phone app, trying to figure out exactly where Mahina would rise. “Don't worry about it,” I said. “I'm always perfectly situated, just intuitively. Look!” And I pointed to the pale white orb ascending, directly in front of us, through the blue-pink smear that sits upon the horizon at sunset, and as it rose, it turned soft gold, then deep orange, and finally, white-gold, casting a shimmering path upon the sea. The moon was only part of the show, though admittedly the most dramatic.

Above us, Jupiter was reigning brightly over the sky, and beyond that, at the end of the arc, was Venus, slipping lower as the moon climbed higher. Returning home, I flipped on the circuit breakers and the moon-planet glow was replaced by the blinking green numbers of the clock on the stove. I certainly hadn't missed that, with its constant reminder of the passing of time, when I “powered down” yesterday, and I hadn't missed the hum and chug of the fridge, though I did miss its cooling effect, which is why it had been turned back on earlier, before the food inside could go bad.

 I've lived without refrigeration, and it can be done without a sense of great deprivation, it just requires a different way of eating, which isn't easily adapted to one day off. I did feel a sense of giddy joy when I unplugged in the office — the wi-fi, the computer, the back up hard drive — and that told me something; namely, I might be happier if I spend less time working, or at least, the kind of working that keeps me hooked to the Internet. I've got a smart phone, which I can tether to my laptop, which has a good battery supply, and so I can use my computer and access the Internet without being directly plugged in, and briefly yesterday, I did.

But using batteries, whether they're charged by the sun or KIUC, isn't really “getting off the grid” because those batteries are shipped in here from someplace else and toxic substances are generated when they're produced and recycled, or tossed in the landfill. The same goes for wind and hydro turbines, solar panels, liquid propane and backup generators. They've all got impacts, so ain't nobody truly pure or off the grid, which I define as the military-industrial-corporate complex, in their consumption of electricity. But tethering the phone to the laptop was a bit more cumbersome than simply flipping the lid and letting wi-fi kick in, which made me stop and think, and that's a good thing, because breaking habits — addictions — is all about bringing unconscious behavior into consciousness.

And make no mistake, energy is an addiction. On Saturday night, thinking about the next day's “power down event,” my mind went through the same litany of excuses it drags out whenever it's told it cannot have something it wants: no one will know if you keep on doing it, what does it really matter, you're not hurting anyone. Or as Neil Young sang, “Seemed like the easy thing/To let it go for one more day.” So no, I didn't kick the habit, but I did think about ways I can reduce my electrical use, and the morality of doing so, even if I can afford to pay my KIUC bill.

Overall, it was a good exercise in mindfulness, which I always welcome, and my garden benefitted greatly from the attentions I lavished upon it, rather than a keyboard and screen. But beyond that, choosing to unplug for a day, as opposed to having the electricity go off, gave me an unexpected sense of freedom, of power, of reclaiming my life in some small way. And I got to thinking, so how much has electricity — all technology, really — functioned primarily to enslave us, to enmesh us in an artificial, manmade world (at the expense of the natural world), even as we worship it and the convenience it provides? .

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