Transition Milwaukee

Rebuilding Community Resilience & Self-Reliance

A few weeks ago Xav Leplae brought up the idea of an off the grid or power down week with me. which I love and am very excited about us possibly doing in Riverwest in the spring. But then as I talked with others and we batted around the idea on the Transition yahoo group I heard about the idea of power down days. So I started inviting others to pick a day with me. The idea as I see it is that every family or individual can choose what power down means to them. If that means a day with out the radio and that is all you feel comfortable and ready for than take that first step and try just that. The idea is not to be uncomfortable but to learn for ourselves what what we truly need to be comfortable, happy and healthy. The biggest thing for me about this day is that although I may do it with just my family we are are not doing it alone, but we are doing it with a community. with the in put of a few friends I picked Saturdays for the power down days in Milwaukee's Riverwest but now I have friends Madison and other places that are doing it too.

For my first day I set using no electric beside my fridge, ( I also left my phone and answering machine on and answered the phone a few times. ) I turned the heat down to 55. I planned on turning my hot water off but didn't get to doing that. I also did not use my car at all even though I had a job across the city.

highlight of my power down day:
one of the best things about this day is that it forced me to not turn on the radio or computer leaving me much more available for my children, a perfect reason to do it on the weekend. Being off the Grid in this way is weird at first if you are used to being able to hook in when ever you want. I have been pushing myself on this before this power down day and it has been so nice for me that I have been inspired to turn them on less on other days and already I am getting used to being less plugged in.

I turned the heat down to 55 but it stayed warmer because it was so mild out and we baked bread to warm up kitchen in am. I think I will try turning down to 50 next weekend, (which it may not go down to unless it is deeply cold out. ) We are getting used to dressing warmer, sweaters, even a hat inside in the evening. I am also learning that if you don't sit at a computer or desk you stay warmer!

most of my bus rides are normally rather short and I have been driving to jobs that are across town. for my first power down day I took two buses to get to 95th and greenfield from riverwest. I must have missed my first bus but as I waited for the bus I relearned how it is a great time to do a few stretches and it was a beautiful sunny morning. after that I had good luck with buses, crocheted 2 washcloths ( I mainly only crochet while the bus is stopped because I get sick if I look down too much, if I didn't I would read and take the bus ALL the time! ) I also got practice talking about the weather and making conversation which really was nice.
Here i will say although I did my ride on Saturday without my kids I find the bus a wonderful way to spend time with kids. waiting for the bus we often have time to play...tag, walking backwards etc. On the bus you can see what your children are looking at and hold little children.
We baked chicken for dinner, than the best part was eating dinner by candle light, After dinner my mom played the piano and we danced by candle light too which was a truly magical way to end the day.
I am really excited about this and see how it is changing how I behave already and am really hoping it will grow!! Power Down with me!!

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Comment by Patricia (Tricia) Gabarra-Koller on December 15, 2009 at 12:03pm
To all eho may be interested in taking baby steps: check out the pdf book at this site and form a workgroup!
http://www.enactwi.org
Comment by Patricia (Tricia) Gabarra-Koller on December 15, 2009 at 12:02pm
Thanks for sharing! Very special experiences.... which in today's lifestyle we tend to forget about... nice to get back to the simple things in life!
Comment by Sarah Moore on December 15, 2009 at 11:08am
thanks Jess. I here is a link too that Tom Brandstetter shared that Inspired me too. http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/2009/01/how-to-cut-out.html
Comment by Jessica Cohodes on December 15, 2009 at 10:14am
I love it, I love it, I love it! This motivates me to employ some of your methods and experiement with my own. Thank you, Sarah.

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