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Last night was Earth Hour, a time when people around the world turned off their lights for one hour to send a message for action on climate change. I worked Swing shift last night (15:00 – 23:00 hours) and at 20:30 I turned off the decorative tower lights on the Golden Gate Bridge (one small step for man…).
I confess that for the next hour I pondered the effect that action had in the overall scheme of things and so today I made some calculations. When the decorative lights were turned off last night a total of 48 lights were affected, with a combined total of 16,000 watts of illumination saved. In comparison, 140 roadway pole lights on the bridge use 35,000 watts of illumination per hour. [real power consumption is based on the amount of current the ballasts of the various fixtures draw].
The point is, we saved almost one-third of our lighting load for one hour last night. During the “Energy Crisis of 2000” we used to wait until 21:00 hours to check the California ISO website and, if we were not in a Critical Demand Condition, energize the decorative lights. I always got a kick out of watching the lights warm up and wash the towers. They looked like Iron Giants stepping out of a dark room into the light.
When the bridge opened in 1937, Low-pressure Sodium Vapor lamps were used in the roadway light poles. In the ’70s these fixtures were replaced with new ones containing High Pressure Sodium lamps. Today, with PG&E, the GGB is looking into new energy-saving lighting technology in the form of LED, or Inductive Lighting solutions to roadway illumination.
How do you move a mountain? One shovelful at a time. We can all do something to make a difference and together our collected efforts will make a huge change.
“When you get a poem [in a public place], it happens to you so suddenly that you don’t have time to deploy your anti-poetry deflector shields that were installed in high school” —Billy Collins
Here is a TED Talk from a man with a dry wit and a unique message.
“For conspicuous leadership above the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, General Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland.” —Medal of Honor citation of Brigadier General James H. Doolittle, as printed in the Congressional Document “Medal of Honor Recipients –1863-1963, page 135
At 10:00 in the morning on April 2, 1942 the USS Hornet passed beneath the Golden Gate Bridge carrying 16 B-25B Mitchell bombers, each equipped with four 500 pound bombs. According to Wikipedia, “…Three of these were high-explosive munitions and one was a bundle of incendiaries. The incendiaries were long tubes, wrapped together in order to be carried in the bomb bay but designed to separate and scatter over a wide area after release. Five bombs had Japanese “friendship” medals wired to them—medals awarded by the Japanese government to U.S. servicemen before the war…” [Note: those bombs were marked “returned with interest”]
“March 22, 2012 at the home of Board President Janet Reilly in San Francisco.
The upper class neighborhood of Sea Cliff, home to the “One Percent” and Janet Reilly, President of the Board of Directors of The Golden Gate Bridge & Transportation District, is seldom the scene of a workers demonstration. Reilly’s neighbors were shocked to see a picket line of ironworkers, teamsters, electricians, boatmen and women, ferry captains, laborers, mechanics and other hard working folk marching up and down at the iron gate leading to the Reilly mansion. These workers, who run and maintain the Golden Gate Bridge, Busses and Ferries were protesting to defend their health benefits and conditions.
More than 380 union workers employed by the Golden Gate Bridge Transportation District have been negotiating almost one year without reaching an agreement, even though management admits the unions have granted monetary and benefit concessions that exceed the District’s demands. What is the holdup? Management, led by Board President Janet Reilly, is now on a right wing ideological campaign to force a form of health benefit premium sharing that will penalize employees with families. The workers are fighting to keep their health care affordable for families. Management is also demanding cuts in current retirees’ vested health care benefits.” —Film by Expert in a Box Video www.youtube.com/expertinaboxvideo