WHY BLACKOUT ?
10 GOOD REASONS TO BLACKOUT
Aims & Objectives
BLACKOUT BRITAIN aims to be a fun, nationwide movement to raise awareness
and action on reducing energy waste.
The chosen methods of BLACKOUT BRITAIN include a monthly call to action,
a voluntary powerdown, which is the cheapest and fastest way to address the issue of
The three main strategies to deal with Climate Change are :-
1. Energy Efficiency - doing more with less
2. Renewable Energy - decarbonising energy
3. Energy Demand Reduction - cutting our use of energy
We believe that energy demand reduction is an instant win !
Besides the monthly "lights off" call we encourage people to go into
Carbon Rehabilitation, to reassess their addiction to energy.
We have several main messages to communicate about energy, one
of which is that "Electricity is Dirty". The Government research on
electricity generation shows that grid-supplied electricity produces
543 grams of Carbon Dioxide per kilowatt hour, compared to the use
of Natural Gas at 190 grams of Carbon Dioxide per kilowatt hour.
We encourage people to "Make the Switch" to Green Electricity as well
as control their electrical consumption.
Through our monthly call to flick the switch, we want to make a theatrical
presentation of energy descent, and ask major organisations, churches,
public bodies, commercial concerns, schools, households and events to
join us in a symbolic show of support.
We want to hold both local and national BLACKOUTS to encourage a
Sabbath of inactivity, a call to meditation or prayer, and a ritual fast of
We want to refer to the cultural memory of Wartime Britain, using the
name BLACKOUT as a metaphor for the safety of the country, in particular
London. We are calling for quasi-austerity, a Blitz spirit mentality.
We want to urge people to BLACKOUT to highlight not only the coming
Climate Crisis but also the coming Energy Crisis. Do it now, voluntarily,
or it will happen to you. One way or another there will be Carbon controls
put in place, by regulation or rationing, as Energy Supply is stressed,
and Environmental Laws are put on the statute books.
BLACKOUT comes out of the realisation that if we don't cut energy use,
we will inevitably have BLACKOUTS imposed on us.
We want to generate a tipping point in self-regulated Carbon control -
that not only is it a good thing to do, but it is fun to do it together.
We want this tipping point in awareness and action to reflect humankind's
growing understanding of the tipping points in the physical world -
the three degree death of the Amazon, the two degree melting of the Polar
Ice Caps, and the one degree perturbation of annual rainfall for half the
We chose the name BLACKOUT to create a buzz by using an edgy word
which is also newsworthy and gives the idea value and cachet amongst
large sectors of the population.
The word BLACKOUT is in common currency and is used to convey the
idea that we cannot always assume we have the right to use something.
Self-budgeting puts a value on electricity which is not yet reflected in the
The BLACKOUT is a total but non Totalitarian approach. It is a call to action,
not a command. There is an element of commitment, but it leads to an
empowerment, not imposed control.
We want to engage an immediate, positive response to the risks of Global
Warming, which is being driven by our accelerating use of fuel and energy.
We want to learn to love the darkness. We want to leave behind the mad
glitz of garish over-lighting.
We want BLACKOUT to be a brand with fun and grassroots, community
appeal. One of our core values is that a BLACKOUT is relational. We want to
embrace the spiritual angle by calling for vigil.
By giving up power we come into physical darkness, but out of the darkness
of ignorance and despair.
A BLACKOUT gives people a chance to be part of something. If someone
does not own the home they live in, they cannot change its fabric to make it
more energy-efficient, but they can still take part in a BLACKOUT.
Only a certain proportion of energy can be cut by voluntary means by
individuals. We can't do everything, but we can BLACKOUT.
A darker life can be a healthier life.
BLACKOUT BRITAIN - A moment of Climate calm.
CUT THE CARBON
COOL CARBON LIFESTYLE
I NEED TO WAKE UP
Music from Melissa Etheridge featured in Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth
THE DENIAL MACHINE
A report about the Climate Change Deniers in North America, who are following the wisdom
of a communications expert, who now admits that Global Warming is real, and serious :-
http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/media/denial.wvx [ Open this link in Windows Media Player ]
10 GOOD REASONS TO CUT THE CARBON
1. CLIMATE CHANGE
Burning Carbon heats up the Earth, which shifts the patterns of
winds and rainfall - causing immense Change in the Climate.
We have already seen extremes of temperatures and precipitation
in the form of heatwaves, cold snaps, floods, storms and droughts.
It will get worse if we carry on burning Carbon.
At the present, most of our Energy comes from burning Carbon.
So pull the plug !
2. SAFETY FIRST
The networks of wires and pipes that feed us our Energy are very
We know they are not fixed and replaced as often as they should be.
We know that, for example, Nuclear Power plants have been running
with bad problems because they are so old, and some have been closed
down, or are working less well.
The Energy delivery systems are like a very old bridge, full of old wood
and patched up. It could collapse if it has to carry a heavy load.
As we ask for more and more power, it is as if we are jumping up and
down on the old bridge and it could crash, and we could have blackouts,
brownouts, meltdowns or worse.
So stop it !
3. KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON
The petroleum and Natural Gas from the North Sea has started to
We are not the only country where oil and gas supplies are falling.
We already have to buy a lot of Natural Gas from other countries.
There are lots of possible problems if we rely on other countries
for our Energy.
To keep the lights on, we must use less Energy !
4. VALUE WHAT PEOPLE DO
Electricity and petrol are very cheap and easy ways to get things
You can get so much more Energy from burning Carbon than you
can by using human power.
Power and petrol are used to make things and go places.
We can give people better chances to do good work if we stop
burning Carbon to do all our work.
Ask a human to do it !
5. WASTE AND DIRT
We burn Carbon to make all the goods that we sell and buy, and make
all the plastics and packaging, and all of this makes dirt in the air,
and waste on the ground.
More things to buy means more waste and dirt.
More moving things around means more waste and dirt.
More car trips means more waste and dirt.
More waste and dirt means more Climate Change, and less love, less
life, less hope.
6. FIGHTS OVER FUEL
More people using Dino-Diesel and other ancient Carbon means more
As more people want to have a better kind of life, we all burn more
Carbon, and we fight over it.
Petroleum and Natural Gas are not coming out of the ground so much
any more, and Coal is too dirty to burn, so we better not do that.
We must not get into the trap of fighting each other to get the Carbon
7. DO IT YOURSELF
Are you being lazy again and taking the car ?
It's such a short trip, so get out and walk !
One of the best reasons for not burning Carbon is the money you save.
9. FOR THOSE WHO NEED PETROL AND GAS IN THE FUTURE
In the future, we will need the Petrol and Natural Gas for important
things like special plastics which doctors use.
Let us keep the Carbon in the ground and use it slowly later on.
Let us have the Carbon later on at a sensible price.
10. I DON'T SEE IT - DO YOU ?
I don't see proof that the people in charge are taking control of
We are burning more Carbon than ever.
If they won't tell us to stop, we have to stop ourselves.
What was Wartime Blackout like ?
Angus Calder, The People's War (1969)
"The first impact of war was felt, not like a hammer blow at the head, to be warded off,
but as a mass of itches, to be scratched and pondered. Most of the discomforts and
frustrations of the period were very minor foretastes of the years of regulations and
austerity which followed. The blackout, however, was an exception. Its impact was
comprehensive and immediate. One of the most impassive official historians of the
British effort observes, without exaggeration, that it 'transformed conditions of life
more thoroughly than any other single feature of the war'."
BRITAIN IS BLACKED OUT !
New restrictions on the home front : on the 1st September 1939, two days before the outbreak of war, Britain was blacked
out. The Blackout imposed on all civilians in all cities was absolute. No chinks of light,
no see through curtains, no car headlights. Even the red glow of a cigarette was
banned. Britain was plunged into complete darkness.
Before the outbreak of war the Air Ministry had forecast that Britain would be exposed
to sudden air attacks that would cause high civilian casualties and mass destruction
from enemy night bombers. To counter this threat it was widely agreed that if man-made
lights on the ground could be put out then the enemy would find it difficult to navigate
and pinpoint their targets. It was believed that if Blackout controls were introduced,
it would make the enemy bombers job more difficult. Indeed as early as July 1939,
Public Information Leaflet No 2 (issued as part of the Air Raid Patrol (A.R.P.) training
literature) warned civilians that everybody would need to play their part and ensure
that the Blackout regulations were properly enforced during the Blackout periods.
PUT OUT THAT LIGHT !
With the introduction of the Blackout came stringent regulations and harsh punishment
for people that did not adhere to these rules. The local A.R.P. could report anyone to
the local authorities if any sign of a light was seen. Many householders would sit and
wait for that knock on the door to tell them they had a chink of light shining from their
homes. Being reported could lead to a hefty fine or in some cases an appearance in
BUSINESSES ARE HIT HARD
Businesses faced even greater difficulties with the introduction of the Blackout. Many
factories had glass roofs which had to be painted black meaning that workers had to
work day and night under the glare of artificial lights. This proved difficult for workers
by affecting their morale and expensive for their employers.
American Red Cross Advice For Rolling Blackouts :-
What Do I Do During A Blackout ?
Energy Conservation Recommendations...
To conserve power to help avoid a blackout, the power industry recommends :-
In heating season, set the furnace thermostat at 20 degrees C or lower.
In cooling season, set the thermostat at 26 degrees C or higher.
Consider installing a programmable thermostat that you can set to have the
furnace or air conditioning run only when you are at home.
Most power is used by heating and cooling, so adjusting the temperatures on
your thermostat is the biggest energy conservation measure you can take.
Turn off lights and computers when not in use.
This is especially true about computer monitors - avoid using a "screen saver"
and just simply turn the monitor off when you won't be using the computer for a while.
Turn the computer off completely each evening. It is no longer true that computer
equipment is damaged from turning it off and on.
Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car.
Close windows when the heating or cooling system is on.
Caulk windows and doors to keep air from leaking, and replace old windows with
new, energy-efficient windows.
Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly.
When buying new appliances be sure to purchase energy-efficient models.
Wrap the water heater with an insulation jacket, available at most building supplies
If you have to wash clothes, wash only full loads and clean the dryer's lint trap after
When using a dishwasher, wash full loads and use the "light" cycle. If possible, use
the "rinse only" cycle and turn off the "high temperature" rinse option. When the
regular wash cycle is done, just open the dishwasher door to allow the dishes to
Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights.
Use one large light bulb rather than several smaller ones.
e-mail us : info[at]blackoutbritain.org.uk