Incremental Improvements

My American friends often joke about British weather, and pity the time I have to spend on this rainy island. I usually respond that, believe it or not, Cambridge is really quite dry. Well, this winter, the weather is clearly out to prove me wrong!

To me, the never-ending storm, flooding, Cam-turned-whitewater, wind-so-loud-it-wakes-me-up seems evidence of climate change. In this context, it seems strange when people don’t even lift a finger (literally) to do anything about it.

I say literally, because I’m talking about flipping a light-switch.

I had noticed on several occasions that the light in the kitchen on our floor was left on. When I saw this, I usually just turned it off, thinking maybe someone stepped out and forgot. But when I noticed the bathroom light being left on from time to time, I was just confused. If you go to the toilet and turn on the light, why wouldn’t you just turn it off when you leave?

Yesterday, as I was passing the toilet I turned off the light. And then I turned off the light in the kitchen. Several hours later, I saw the light in the toilet on again. And in the shower-room. My first thought was “seriously? It’s not that hard to flip a switch! Shouldn’t it be a habit? Don’t they know it’s important?”

I had every intention to get upset, grumble, and do nothing. But then, I realized that it was unlikely that whoever was leaving the light on was doing so for a malicious reason. It didn’t matter why the light was left on, but that it be turned off in the future. If, for some reason, turning the light off wasn’t a habit for someone, why not help make it a habit?

So last night, I took out some bright green post-it notes, and wrote “DON’T FORGET TO TURN THE LIGHT OFF” on them in sharpie, and stuck them to the inside of the bathroom and kitchen doors. It  seemed so obvious a solution that I doubted it would work, but the post-its are still there, and I haven’t seen the light left on when no one was in the room. Perhaps it’s too early to tell, but I’m glad it seems to be working!

This entry was posted in Education, Travel, Life Philosophy, Environment and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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