Monday, April 16, 2007

Another Power Outage

The heat hasn’t been as bad as I was anticipating. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to move without breaking a sweat that wouldn’t evaporate due to the humidity. Apparently it has been in the 90’s with fairly high humidity, but for some reason, it hasn’t bothered me, until a few nights ago.

After getting back from the interviews in Managua, I spent the evening in my air conditioned room answering emails and reading the paper.

It was raining pretty hard (I love how you can hear it approaching) and the power went out throughout the whole city. Now, being in a third world country, I was prepared. I have my headlamp (as you know from the last power outage story) and my laptop has a nice long battery so I don’t have to stop working.

What I don’t have a back-up power supply for, however, is the air conditioning. And while it was raining outside, it certainly wasn’t any cooler out there than it was rapidly becoming inside. So I decided to go ahead and just go to sleep and that if I got really desperate, I could open up the fridge in my room and cool of for a minute or so with that.

Of course, I didn’t think about the fact that for the fridge thing to work more than once, it needs power also.

In the end, I slept okay, although a little restlessly, and I have an all new profound respect for air conditioning.

Because of that, and because it’s normal here to have it on as high as it goes, constantly, I had been leaving it on all day. But my sister has challenged me to do something for Earth Day coming up. And while I don’t think that I’ll be able to plant trees on April 22nd, or do without air conditioning altogether, I did decide that coming home to a hot room and waiting several minutes for it to cool down once I got here was entirely within my ability to handle.

In the Seattle Times on Sunday there was an article on people who are meeting the challenge of cutting back on their carbon consumption by 15%. One family that was focused on mentioned that they’ve already done all the easy stuff, so this 15% would be a real challenge, but that they were up to it.

Through chosen circumstance, I don’t have a car, I take public transportation, my room has only florescent lights (I’ve seen very few incandescent in Central America). But other than that, I’ve started eating meat (again, from the Seattle Times, a hamburger creates 9.5 lbs of greenhouse gases to get to the table) and I am definitely using electricity for my computer (to stay in touch!) and I haven’t a clue how to dispose of garbage responsibly, it’s pretty much all burned together.

So only using the air conditioner when I am in the room is my change. It sounds tiny when I write it, but it already feels pretty big. What’s yours? Feel free to add either what you’d like to do or things that you already do to the comment section below.

Also, I’m adding a link to the right to the organization my sister works for, Trees for the Future.


Michael Chase said...

Hey Nicole,
Joan and I or I should say just I gave up my truck. A sad moment for me. We are trying to get by with a bicycle, motorcycle and car. Hmm, I think 2 people can live off that:)

Nic said...

That's terrible! And awesome at the same time :) I hope your truck went to a very good home!