Today marked one month since I last plugged in at NYU. I made it a whole month without plugging my computer, phone, or anything else to the grid. I still used power, and plenty, taking subway trips, train trips to New Jersey and Philadelphia, and more.
How? The days got longer. My skills to avoid polluting developed. The company whose power station (battery with many charging ports) I used sent me a battery of the next generation to test, so I had a second battery and more than double the energy I did before.
When I disconnected my apartment last May, I didn’t see how I’d make more than a few days so I didn’t try to figure out how to do it best. Remember, this experiment is to alleviate suffering in people helpless to prevent our pollution hurting them. It’s not for some abstract “environment” or trend. It’s to avoid hurting people. What are we here for if not to help innocent people needlessly suffering, or at least minimize contributing to it?
Experience taught me starting would figure things out better than analyzing and planning. I grandfathered in plugging in my laptop and phone at work (NYU), since I wasn’t trying to unplug there. Since I drew grid power there, I called it my “cheat,” and didn’t hide that I did it.
Some people have criticized my “cheat.” They’ve also accused my going out at night as using power from restaurants and bars. I don’t know why they made stuff up. Going out mostly meant volunteering to bring food to the community center, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars worth that would have been thrown away. I’ve eaten at maybe five or ten restaurants in the past year and hosted more than that many people to dinners I prepared, so I’m net negative.
Nobody has yet told me, “I want to try,” I’m sad to report. I hoped somebody would try.
Some have said I’m just diverting my power use to NYU, but a typical day at NYU amounts to about 100 watt-hours, or about an hour of someone watching TV. TVs today use power turned off as on, so it’s a few hours of not watching TV, just being plugged in.
Then both batteries broke
In the past forty-eight hours, both batteries broke. It bears repeating: While fossil fuels pollute, nuclear, wind, solar, and fusion (if it ever works) are not “clean,” “green,” or “renewable.” Sorry to break it to you, but it’s the result of research, not my opinion
Reducing power and increasing resilience bring you closer to clean, green, renewable, and sustainable. Dance around it all you want, but you can’t avoid concluding that polluting hurts people. I don’t know why people think I’m judging when I say it. I might as well say if you drop something it will fall. I’m describing how things work.
Actually, I do know. They feel guilty and shameful and rather than facing their guilt and shame come from their own behavior and I couldn’t add any more than their consciences already create, they try to convince themselves that it came from someone else.
So I plugged back in
After 31 days without plugging in, I’m in an NYU building now, plugged in, feeling half-defeated, half-triumphant. I’m also preparing for a few weeks or months without even solar power at home, meaning only uncooked food. Luckily, spring has brought greens to the market, so salads are easier to make than in the winter.
Plus there’s fermenting, sprouting, soaking, and plenty of new ways I’ve learned to prepare without polluting. Did I say new? I meant traditional, old ways. I’m not extreme, I’m traditional.
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