My kitchen is probably the biggest power eater in my apartment: the fridge, freezer, microwave, oven, cooking range – they are all on stand bye.
Life has become one big battle of reductions. We all do it the wrong way. My ancestors lit a candle or later used gas. No-one really asked where the gas came from. Everyone had a so-called meter and you fed it with change when the gas was no more. You would be cooking a cake in the oven, perhaps the meat and vegetable were on the flame and suddently the flame got smaller and weaker and it was no more. It was time to put money in the metal box, the meter, to get your supply of gas again. The funny thing in those days was no-one cried to save the gas. People were not rich, but paying as you go seemed to be more manageable than having a monthly bill through the letter box.
Perhaps it was growing up in these surroundings that gave me a basis for not living as if there was a second world around the corner. If we left a room in our little house in London we switched the light off. It was a normal state of affairs, you save electricity. My mum remembers her mum as being one of the first in our back street in the East End of London to sign for the street to be opened up to lay the electric cables. We continued to cook by gas because the gas pipes were already there, but now we had an electric light and no longer needed to light the gas holder for light. This electricity was new, and my grandparents, as well as my parents, learned to care for it.
Growing up under these circumstances, it was in your system. I have now been married 50 years (next year) and I am still switching off the bathroom light when the bathroom is empty. The kitchen is the place where this electricity is mostly used, but our dishwasher is only in use from 9.00 p.m. in the evening, as we have half price electricity from 9 in the evening until 6 in the morning. This is the same for our washing machine in our linen room in the cellar and that is only switched on for a wash at 9.00 in the evening. The biggest wash, the white wash, is just 1 hour 20 minutes so I can easily hang it in the evening and it dries by the morning. Perhaps you might think this complicated, but our electricity bill remains normal.
I even recharge the battery in my wheelchair from 9 in the evening. Our electric life mainly exists in the night hours.
I am not an environment freak that wants to save the world, but just like to save my own money. I remember once seeing an elderly lady in the supermarket with her granddaughter. She was buying eggs and the granddaughter intervened. “No granny, not those eggs, they are not environment friendly. take those from the hens living in natural circumstances”. They were 50% more expensive, but granddaughter was being kind to the hens If granddaughter had known what she was talking about, she would have realised that battery chickens are forbidden in Switzerland and they all have room to take a walk on their farms. I am also sure that grandmother did not have so much money to buy the more expensive eggs.
However it goes without saying that I am careful of what I use in my daily life and avoid using plastic where I can, or at least give it back to the recycling depot. Even our newspapers are collected once a month for recycling. Of course we have computers and a television, you just have to keep everything in its place. I switch my computer off and disconnect it when it is not being used: it is just common sense. I do not live a life of reduction, if I had wanted to, I could have become a nun I suppose.