Friday, February 6, 2009


As I pointed out in comments over on Crunchy's; this "unplug your fridge" thing really seems to push people's buttons.

The NYT story from yesterday has been picked up by; so far, Scientific American; TreeHugger, and Consumer Reports.

As usual, the overwhelming reaction is "these guys are crazy!" - but you might want to note that so far- none of them have actually talked - to me.  And as far as I can tell, I'm the origin of this "movement", if it is one.  Sure, lots of people have done without refrigerators; but as far as I can tell the idea that it could make sense in the modern world, as a way to cut energy consumption, was first delineated here.

I will, I promise, get a post up here that serves as a summary, since much of the discussion is currently widely scattered and rather non-linear.  But it will take a few days.  For one thing; Smidgen's 4th birthday is this weekend, and we do have a party planned (with icecream!).  For another- a tooth I'd long considered healthy has chosen this moment to go bad; I've got to hie to a dentist pretty quick.

One quick point; for those folks brought here by this coverage- neither I, nor any of The Fridgeless, are suggesting that YOU "should" take this route.  Not a bit.

What we're saying is- this is possible.  It's not difficult, once you've learned.  And- it may lead to much healthier lifestyles; beyond the energy savings.

Ok, TWO quick points.  :-)

Pro-Fridgies will often say "the fridge is necessary in my climate."  And they mean it.  Never mind that most of the people living in the tropics - like Africa and India - live quite successfully without a fridge.  And no, it's not just those in poverty.  And never mind that all your ancestors, prior to 100 years ago or so- lived without them.  

A little more actual thinking is called for, perhaps.


EJ said...

It just goes to show that you never know which of the "little" tings we do that will have an effect. Lets hope this gets some brain cells in motion especially in places where people haven't thought about things like this before.

dode said...

Our current house comes complete with a larder, small high window, north facing. Even in summer it stays at a reasonable temperature for most food stuffs. This and the kacheloven are two traditional elements of the house we will take with us when we move on.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Yeah, but what's the average lifespan of someone living in Africa or those alive before 1910? 38? I generally don't look to those populations for lifestyle advice.

Also, I would disagree that the overwhelming reaction is "these guys are crazy". It's been more like "it doesn't make much sense to turn off the fridge". But, I'm sure you'll try to address that when you get around to it.

tickmeister said...

My family lived without electricity in rural Missouri until I was 10 years old, thus no refrigerator. I didn't suffer, maybe mom did but she didn't say much if so. I remember ice cream being quite the treat because it was bought in small packages and eaten before it melted. We didn't go to town all that often either.

When we got electricity, first appliance bought was a big chest type freezer for meat, fish, and garden stuff. Easier than canning. I don't remember when the refrigerator came along, may have been after I left home at 16.

And no, we never got food poisoning.

Nicole said...

I love having a fridge. I currently live in Nicaragua and have seen people living just fine without a fridge. What makes me crazy is that people don't seem to understand the difference between a luxury and a necessity.

But at the same time I can kind of understand because it's tough to grasp until you actually see it.

If you're happy without one, go without. If you want one, like everything else, just be aware and use with common sense.

Thanks for the useful information to get everyone a little closer to 'seeing'!

Liz said...

As for your last point, people who feel they need one in their climate probably don't need it all year. We turned ours off quite happily for nine months and used it as a cooler (we kept the deep freeze going and used it to freeze ice bricks), and only turned it back on for summer. We'll turn it off when it starts to cool down again.

Anonymous said...

That's interesting, my friends think I am crazy for not having at TV! I am glad I found your blog, very interesting

C and H said...

We lived without a refrigerator twice, in our marriage. Once for four months in 2004, as my husband worked out in the fields of Wyoming. Then again for a year on the outskirts of Las Vegas in 2005. We lived inside a snowmobile trailer which my husband turned into a make shift "sheep camp." (pictures are on our blog.) We kept our food in two large coolers during both times. When we lived in Las Vegas we were able to "rent" a spot of ground to park our trailer on. This ground had a well and electricity. We ran long extension cords from the gentleman’s home to our trailer. This enabled us to use a light and run an air conditioner in the trailer. Because we insulated the trailer, the whole inside was like living in a large refrigerator, therefore we didn't need to use as much ice and our food always stayed nice and cool. We are now making plans to build a cargo container living quarters and plan on using more dried, bottled, and smoked food items. We will also buy some goats for our milk and other dairy products. We will probably have a small fridge in the c-can, but we want to find a way to convert it to run off of hydrogen gas (or methane) if possible. This way we can “create” our own fuel using water or animal manure. Kudos to you and everyone else who are experimenting with “alternative living conditions.”