The day after Thanksgiving is commonly referred to as “Black Friday.” However, the day after Christmas also adapted the term this year, as Christmas fell on Thursday and stores slashed prices the following Friday.
On the island of Oahu, Hawaii, Black Friday came again: the entire island of was without power for roughly 12 hours starting shortly after sunset at 6:30 p.m.
My family and I ate our last dinner together before heading to the airport. On the way there, my cousin, Derek, noticed the lights flicker, and eventually the power went out. We found each other through our fingertips as the whole island fell into darkness. Scrambling for candles, lights, flashlights and batteries, we huddled around cell phones and attempted to call the airlines as a last ditch effort to return to Maui. The systems were flooded with calls. We had to stay another night in the dark with our batteries and hand-operated radios.
Inflatable snowmen and holiday lights fell silent. Game consoles were left untouched. There was no low humming from the microwave reheating holiday leftovers. An uneasy feeling crept over the island as a few hotel generators in Waikiki defined the shoreline.
I wondered in the darkness and realized how dependent I am on power—from my computer and cell phone to the lights throughout the house.
The blackout was a refreshing glimpse into life without power, although a bit extreme at times. With my power hungry guilt, there are things that I have changed since that night, such as using more candles and reducing my dependence on the refrigerator by eating different foods. Rather than drying my close in the dryer, I have switched to hang drying them, which will reduce my energy bill by roughly $140 annually.
Now it is your turn: What energy reduction strategies do you practice in your life?