Day 365* unplugged

May 21, 2023 by Joshua
in Leadership, Nature

The electric grid here pollutes and depletes with every form of power it uses: nuclear, wind, solar, coal, gas, hydro, and everything else. Polluting and depleting kills people and causes unnecessary suffering. I don’t want to pay for and otherwise cause killing and unnecessary suffering.

Last year, on May 22, I unplugged everything in my apartment that drew power from the grid. My goal was to remain disconnected for one month, though I didn’t know how I’d make it past a few days. Thus, I didn’t try to do it perfectly. I chose experimental physics for a reason: we learn from experimenting. Later people can create theory based on experiment. Theory not based on experiment still requires experiment.

Mostly I work on sustainability leadership. This experiment is more exploring the frontier, though since you can’t lead someone to live by values you live the opposite of, trying to live sustainably is also necessary for integrity, credibility, and character, all missing from most parts of environmentalism.

I learned every day of the experiment, as well as weekly, monthly, seasonally, and annually things of different scale. My upcoming book shares what I learned to enable others to live more joyfully sustainably.

Today marks Day 365* of unplugging everything. Here are my write-ups in TIME and Ars Technica for more background. See more coverage on my media page.

* I put a star after Day 365 because after unplugging everything, I noticed the outlets near faucets had safety LEDs still glowing, like this:

Two days later, I went to the circuit breaker for the entire apartment and opened it, thereby disconnecting the entire apartment from the grid.

So far, I’ve been careful to say I unplugged on the 22nd, later disconnecting the whole apartment, but I’m thinking about counting May 24 as the key date I started pulling zero current from the grid in my apartment. The LEDs didn’t pull much in the intervening days, but more than zero.

I’ll write Day 365 without a star on the 23rd, then starting year 2 on the 24th. Making it one year implies I can make it indefinitely, though injuries happen, equipment can fail, and who knows what other problems might lead me to reconnect the circuit. Otherwise, I’m clear for about five months until the days shorten and it gets cold on the roof.

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