Could you do without? Learning from Hurricane Irene

If you haven't noticed, I'm a little behind on updating the blog. That's because when Hurricane Irene came through the Outer Banks, it knocked out my power and Internet. The power was only out for 16 hours, but the Internet has been out for 6 days, and I'm told it could take a few more days to be restored. 

All week, I've been chatting with my friends in the Outer Banks and Hampton Roads about our suffering while doing without modern conveniences. When I take a step back from our conversations I realize, wow, we are all really spoiled! Here we are with an energy crisis in our country, we all need to conserve natural resources where we can, and yet we go crazy when we don't have AC for a day! While there are people who lost their homes and businesses, and while my friends who live on Hatteras Island are stranded because the only road in and out of town was breached in multiple places, those of us who are lucky enough to have homes with roofs still attached and no flood damage are preoccupied with the big problem that we're sweating and stuffy while we sleep. Really?

And I'm certainly a guilty party. I'm an Internet marketer and social media PR consultant. The Internet is my livelihood. I'm inconvenienced by the outage because I have to work 2 miles down the road in coffee shop today, and I won't have 24-7 access to the Internet until later in the weekend.  That makes it more challenging for me to make money and pay the bills. But, not impossible. I should just feel blessed that I have a fantastic job that I love in this economy.

I'm reminded of my trip to Popoyo, Nicaragua earlier this year, where the power goes out for a few hours with no warning on a regular basis. I remember my hosts were planning to have a birthday party at the house one night and then the power went out. They simply postponed the party for the next night.  They weren't upset about the inconvenience, but rather matter of fact about it, "We can't have the party tonight because there is no power, and we can't have a party without music."

Can you imagine how much energy we would save if everyone in our country did without power for a few hours a week? Could you go without? I can, and I would! Sure there would be challenges, but we can quickly adjust to our surroundings. But I know, unfortunately, most people would not be open to that. I posed this question to one of my best friends. She was adamant that she would not stand for that because her old, sick cat needs air conditioning among other things (I love you, girl!). Maybe I can't change her perspective or anyone else's. Maybe that simple solution to our nation's energy crisis would never fly in Washington (even if it were voluntary and people benefited from lower bills and maybe even a tax credit). However, it's an interesting question: Could you do without?