On climate strike

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I am not on climate strike, but for the sake of respect for the enormous dependency we have on electricity, I had planned to avoid electricity for 24 hours.

So far not so good.

I stayed late Thursday to complete a paper submission et al. and that went into early Friday. The desktop computer and light were switched on, so lets start at wake-up time instead…

My bedside clock is electrical. It has a battery, so potentially I could let it go off-grid instead of switching it off. A room in my home is without windows. I have candles in the room but they do not light up much… Breakfast includes milk from the refrigerator. Any use of water is presumably dependent on electrical water pumps somewhere along the tubes. My smartphone can – as any other mobile phone – be off the power grid. My electrically powered home wifi is typically on, but I could have used 4G, which would enable me to have off-power grid Internet.

Off to work, my bike does not require on-grid electricity. The back light is battery powered, the front light is a dynamo. However, the room with the bike is without natural light. It is necessary to switch on light or bring your own light to find the bike.

My employer has physical access control with a card. The door is not locked at the hour that I came, – so I am able to get in… The coffee machine is electrical, the heater for warm water is electrical…. My desk telephone is electric.

For work, I had plenty of paper (which these letters are written on) and I printed several articles to read.

Paying for lunch is an issue: At the local street food you pay with MobilePay or contactless card, – I do not recall seeing customers paying with cash. While MobilePay and card do not require on-grid electricity on your part, the receiver may have on-grid electricity at their end and certainly the card handling company has.

There is not non-electrical light at my employer which means that around 17:00 things get complicated. At around 18:00 I gave up. Until then I had read about two and a half papers and written two sections for a possible paper, – as well as checked my email via the off-grid smartphone.

Back home I switched on the light by old habit. Switched off, I went to buy something for dinner. I have an electrical stove, so cooking hot food would be impossible. I bought bread and salmon which did not require heating. Back home I managed to find candles, LED candles and a bright sun-charged lamp. From these lights, my battery radio and my off-grid smartphone I managed to eat and entertain myself for the rest of the evening.

Venezuela has had a blackout with major effects. Developed societies have become so dependent on electricity.

An occasional switch-off may indulge us with a sense of awe of modern electrical technology, previous generations’ ability to strive through the darkness and a respect for the light.

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