The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Posts Tagged ‘energy

morning cram (back to work edition)

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jobs = good

KY~ Lake Barkley is near record levels and area flooding could happen. Lake winds could reach 20-30 mph. Trigg County expects water over some roads. Coast Guard eases boating restrictions. US Senate Democratic hopefuls vied for the primary slot in Paducah last night over economy and energy issues. Fort Campbell soldiers take a day off for cleanup.

TN~ Clarksville is wringing out the wet. As flood water recedes, expect to find dead animals. US Senator Alexander wants to question the Corps of Engineers.

IL~ Democrats want to shortchange the pension.

What Matt did during Earth Hour 2010

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Somehow I was in the dark about Earth Hour being Saturday, March 27. Until I had read earlier that day about Sydney, Australia turning off its lights, I had no idea the event was to take place locally only a few hours later. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a region where I can step out on my balcony and look over a darkened city, showing somber respect for the environment and the fragile, yet powerful hold we as humans have over its fate. In truth, looking outside my window you’d see the lights, sights and sounds of a small, expanding town.

What I really wanted to do was to sit on my front porch with a candle, to see neighbors outside doing the same, to gaze at the stars and reflect on the magnitude of our existence. This romantic idea was soon washed away by a brief, but hard swept storm followed by a chilly temperature drop. Alas, during Earth Hour, I was forced to stay indoors.

Around 8:30, my girlfriend and I scrambled to turn off all the lights, the computers, the television and anything else whirring, blinking and glowing. It was 8:40 by the time we finished, but we vowed to make up for lost time by making our Earth Hour last until 9:40.

Matt reading during Earth Hour 2010

We decided to light some candles and read in the living room. I read my book, she read hers. I don’t quite know how to explain the strange phenomena when reading by candle light, an urge to read something scary. I put down my book and pulled out that famous collection by Alvin Schwartz, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” We read the one about the dead guy walking through a town, not realizing his demise until he read about his funeral in the newspaper; the one about the group of fishermen who take refuge in a spooky house with the big, green face. After a few stories, the darkness around us settled in and the apartment, though only dark for 30 minutes or so, became rather creepy.

The fact that a less than an hour earlier, a place whirring and whizzing, bright as the day could so quickly be foreboding simply by cutting some of the power is a strange sort of paradox and something of a repercussion to 21st century living habits. Our dependency on modern energy is a deeper issue for another day, but it led to an interesting conversation while we waited out the rest of Earth Hour that night.

We had three large candles going and, for a time, a flashlight. It was pointed out that burning these manufactured candles and eventually discarding (even recycling) their glass containers consumes large amounts of energy. The battery in the flashlight would be one of the worst things disposed of in a landfill. Compared to a single light bulb, all of which costs about half a penny on the monthly electric bill, we were probably consuming more energy in our recognition efforts.

Regardless of whether or not we actually helped the environment in this year’s Earth Hour, it gave us pause to think about the value of resources, to participate in the global event and an excuse to read scary stories with candles. It was a highlight to an otherwise ordinary weekend and, for an hour, made the world seem smaller and more connected. Searching Earth Hour 2010 on Flickr, it’s refreshing to see others and particularly cities who’d gotten involved, hopefully inciting a positive change on a larger and more substantial scale. I know Earth Hour takes place at the end of every March, but would it really be too much to ask if we moved it to, say, late June? If only so I could live out that romantic plan of sitting on the porch and gazing up at the stars.

Written by Matt Markgraf

March 29, 2010 at 11:11 am

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morning cram (free money race edition)

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Get out the spurs! Let the great politician scramble begin!

KY~ Hopkinsville stops suing AT&T and a home invasion victim there has been ID’d. Federal money fixes homes in Dawson’s Springs. A Eastern KY prison is going Girls Only. The House votes today on tracking bill. All reps want federal funds, but no charter schools allowed! MSU smashes EIU.

TN~ Recent demand for energy busts TVA records. A Tanner contender goes indie. Bredesen”s education proposal concerns some lawmakers.

Written by Chris Taylor

January 12, 2010 at 9:13 am