Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 5

Part of the reason for this whole deal:
What drives me crazy about where we live is the damn kitchen. Everything about it pisses me off. There are no windows, it smells like  cigarettes because of the neighbors, and the damn light makes me feel like I'm living in a motel. It has this little buzzing sound, which makes it sound like a bug zapper, and you can't forget the florescent lighting. That one just really puts the cherry on top. I think that is a sliver of a reason of why we wanted to do this. (I just made our place seem horrible, but its really not that bad, just... the kitchen) We NEED natural light!!!
Anyways, this is kind of our phase one of what we would want to accomplish in the future. We are trying to slowly gravitate towards something even more sustainable. The coming phases will most likely be no driving period, walk/bike everywhere, eat only local ( when more money is involved), consume less material things (clothes ( me), coffee  (Josh)) I think being able to accomplish this will be hard but I think it so necessary. I know we can do it, as humans that is what its suppose to be like.

Well as for our Phase one, being at home alone with only candles really gets super creepy. At least for me ( Lindsey), you start to see things that aren't really there, and hear things for that matter. I start feeling like a kid again and feel like I need a night light in every outlet. I have always been afraid of the dark, still am.

We are awaiting our next power bill which I am really excited about. Considering the last one was only $16.00 and we had only been a week into the Candlelight project through that pay period.
However, I think our only struggle here will be the heater. If we can try not to use it, even if its bloody cold out. I say suck it up, throw on a sweatshirt, socks, blanket, whatever. Right?
We will definitely post as soon as we get our next bill. Should be interesting.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 4

The first real issue we have come across was the actual candles. After a few nights of burning candles we realized that they burn fairly quickly, and we then became concerned that fast burning candles would end up costing us more in the long run than using the lights. After all, a project such as this requires at least three big candles to effectively light a room. So this prompted to us to do some research into candles to see if there were some out there that burnt longer than others. We also were prompted to start conserving our candles, so were just burning one at a time if possible...during our research we found out some cool stuff!

Beeswax!!! We quickly found the answer to our problem. Beeswax candles burn brighter, warmer, slower, and way cleaner. In fact beeswax candles are actually a natural air purifier. Air contains billions of electrically charged  ions which can affect our capacity to absorb oxygen, and therefore cause powerful effects on our health and well being. Too many positive ions can make a person feel sick and they are loaded down with pollution and allergens that are drawn to them and suspended in the air. Your common everyday paraffin candles actually produce these positive bueno. However negative ions, which are produced by beeswax candles, actually remove the pollution and allergens from positive ions!!

The problem with this news is that beeswax candles are initially expensive. On average it looks like they are about ten dollars more than regular. But when Lindz and I considered the money we would save in the long run, and then researched the potential health risks of burning normal paraffin candles (which include cancer causing agents and allergens), we decided we needed to make the switch.

So we have one fairly small beeswax candle to start with, and from there we are working on finding wholesale beeswax so we can make our own candles! It is amazing how much light we are getting from this rather small, slow burning beeswax candle. Also, in case your wondering, another good alternative to paraffin is soy.

Day 3

This an absolutely stunning video.. Not only is it breath taking and surreal, but it gives the watcher a very unique perspective. If you want to see a longer version of it, go to this link:

Look at all the lights!  We feel this video truly speaks for shows the human impact on the planet, and it shows the startling amount of electricity being used..

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 2

"We lack the vocabulary and the metaphors for life on a different scale. We're so used to growth that we can't imagine alternatives; at best we embrace the squishy sustainable, it's implied claim that we can keep on as before. So here are my candidates for words that may help us think about the future:
These are squat.solid,stout words. They conjure a world where we no longer grow by leaps and bounds, but where we hunker down, where we dig in. They are words that we associate with maturity, not youth; with steadiness, not flash. They aren't exciting, but they are comforting-think husband not boyfriend." -Bill McKibben, Eaarth.

This quote resonates with Lindz and I and what we are doing. Our candle light is not flashy, but comforting. We are hunkering down. In Bill McKibbens' book Eaarth (which we highly recommend), he calls for the need for people to move back to a more simple way of life. We need to cut down to the necessities-get rid of the absurd and the excessive.

Renewable energy is a possible solution to the environmental crisis, but only if we cut down on the overall amount of electricity our way of life demands. So why not light some candles and save the electricity for a more important need? Its day number two and we are doing great, hunkered down!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 1

Day 1
For the last two weeks or so we have eased our way into using only candle light. We have fooled around with different lantern deigns and candles, and figured out how many we need and so on. Today marks the official beginning of The Candle Light Project-one month without the use of any electrical light.

Perhaps one of the most noticeable and immediate changes has been how much easier it is for Lindz to hide in various parts of the house and scare me. It is safe to say that scaring me on a regular basis is one of her favorite past times, the candles are making it ten times easier for her! So im a bit on edge haha.  

So far we have noticed that, since the sun went down, we have felt very relaxed. The natural light is easy on the eyes. Having less light in the house is forcing us to keep the house more clean and organized than usual-it is important we know where everything is, allowing us to have less injuries.

We are very excited to see how this goes and how much money we save on our next few power bills.  Our electric bill is generally between 35 and 40 bucks. Within the first two weeks of experimenting with different candle and lantern designs, we got our bill down to 16!! We can’t wait to see what a whole month of straight candlelight will do! 
                                                       Here is what were working with!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Enough Talk...

We have lived in a small apartment on the east side of Salt Lake City since April of 2011. We both graduated from Westminster College earlier this year-my degree is in Environmental Studies and Lindsey finished a degree in Public Health! Since then we have both been adjusting to the post-grad life..

It is safe to say that we have mastered the art of bitching about the world. We love to complain about the environment, social issues, the strains of modern life, industrial food, and much much more...Along with all these complaints, we inevitably begin to feel overwhelmed and sick. So finally... were done talking.

We want to be the solution to all the problems we love to complain about! Oh sure we buy organic and local when we can, sure we recycle (which are EXTREMELY important), but we want to take a bigger step-a more visible step. We want to do something more radical that will help ease us into a more sustainable life.

One day, in late September, Lindz and I decided we wanted to live by candle light. We decided to find out what life would be like if, when the sun set, we did not flood the house with artificial light.

So, this blog is devoted to the conversation of living simply. We will, hopefully, map our journey living by candle light and in the process inspire any readers to try it themselves...

The Candlelight Project

How many of us have memories from childhood of a thunder storm knocking the power out in our homes? That sudden flicker and then…silence. The TV is off, the lights are out. The hum of electricity disappears. 

The next step was to light all the candles available, filling the house with a dim warm glow that casts eerie shadows on the walls. As children we naturally began to giggle and scare each other while parents checked in on the neighbors to see if the phones were still working.

Inevitably a perfect kind of calm ensued. You gathered close.  You began to talk. Stories swapped between each other took the place of the television. I felt right. It was simple.

Then the power suddenly flooded back. That bizarre snapping sound followed by the hum. The TV began to blab. The whole house was again bright, the clocks went to zero, and the candles seemed irrelevant as everyone dispersed throughout the house to pick up where they left off.

And always there was that sense of sadness-something important had just ended. An instinct deep in our biology said that it was right to be in the dark by those few glints of fire. It was right to be close to one another, hunkered down, waiting for the sun to rise....