‘Needs must’ is an old phrase is not heard so often any more, but it fits perfectly with the #NLDark situation, and sustainability.
On those days early in 2014 there was not enough electricity being generated in Newfoundland to meet the demand. Everyone was affected. The house was heated by the fireplace and my family was entertained by a Yellow Submarine puzzle, completed by snowglow.
The environmentalists, the green people, the Al Gores and David Suzukis and so many more have been talking about conservation for decades. #NLDark proved that we can conserve when ‘needs must’.
Our power grid is a closed system. The planet is a closed system. We can change what we’re doing so that it – the power and the planet – keeps going along. We saw that in action through #NLDark. Yes yes yes there were challenges, but this is not about that. This is about the hope that came out of it. Co-operation, support, and conservation. (There was also a very hearty showing of innovation and consideration, but that can be a different post.)
I know where I was when the rotating power outages started – heading up Torbay Road to pick up a pizza for a Christmas holidays sleepover party. No power on one side of Torbay Road, full blast on the other. Eerie. I didn’t know what was going on.
Then Good Thing #1: People co-operated. At the Torbay Road Newfoundland Drive intersection (six lanes heading toward Torbay), the collective ‘we’ figured out the 24-lane-stop-intersection fast, and got it going with grace. If someone went astray (not waiting for their right turn), the collective we picked it up and resumed the accepted pattern. Nice eye contacts between drivers in parallel lanes. Ten points for us!
Then Good Thing #2: People supported. Just a little further up the road Peter’s Pizza pick-up was like a kitchen party. The guy behind the counter seemed new, but was very friendly and upfront: there is a backlog. When he came out with a pizza he’d kind of announce it. One man was reading out the twitter feed to the rest. Another came in to pick-up a pizza ordered pre-outage. We welcomed him. He went to pay and was walking away from the counter when the Peter’s Pizza guy called him back and asked quietly (but we could all hear)…. “Did you mean to leave a $20 tip?”. “Yes.” said the late-comer. We all looked up! “It’s going to be awhile.” said Peter’s Pizza guy. “Maybe I’ll get mine first,” said the new-comer. All laughed (and he did not get his pizza first.). Gold stars!
Then Good Thing #3: People conserved. Arrived home to a powered-house, but little was on in the way of electricity. Our kids – the same kids who are unable to turn off a screen or a light – were on it. Turn off the Christmas Lights, don’t run the dishwasher, conserve conserve conserve was all over facebook. And it went on from there. People conserved. Hallelujah!
What we waste is the difference between what we need and what we use. #NLDark showed that we have what it takes to do better when needs must. And that can be cozy.