Updated: Nov 23
The style of writing, the choice of words, the writing approach (direct or metaphorical) and the connections that the written content helps to make, is that what makes reading an enjoyable experience. Reading extensively enables even children writers to observe, make inferences and use the same in their own writing. Group discussions based on reading a content together makes it even more engaging and helps broaden perspective.
The world can showcase all sorts of unlikely connections, if you care to stop and observe. Even better when you have company to dissect a problem and see all the connections.
An article on how Parkour (a sport) enabled bringing about awareness about wasteful use of store display lights and signs throughout the night in Paris. If you are wondering how Parkour enthusiasts helped bring awareness about lights being left on throughout the night, the story has a lot more to it.
Light pollution: High end stores in Paris leave their display lights and store signs on throughout the night leading to light pollution. Excessively bright lights in the night causes reflections and excess light, thus interfering with sleep patterns of animals and humans. Sleep deprivation can be a serious problem leading to whole variety of other problems. The issue doesn't end there.
Energy scarcity: World wide energy is scarce, given that coal and natural gas resources are fast depleting. Climate change crisis has the set the wheels in motion for cleaner and reliable alternative sources of energy. However these are in nascent stages and its a long way to go before we can rely on these sources the way we rely on coal and gas today. This has been further accentuated by the Russian Ukraine crisis leading to a freezing of gas supply to European countries, a decision taken by Russia to deter external support to Ukraine. Given this scenario, it has become increasingly imperative that energy is conserved and not wasted.
Role of Parkour enthusiasts: These youngsters who are in their early 20s have taken the matter into their hands. It appears that the law enforcement has been able to do little in mitigating this problem. Obvious solutions such as a law stipulating the time period during which the lights can be on and fines for violation have been imposed, but with little effect. These athletes move in groups practising their sport which involves running, jumping, climbing walls and gymnastics. They climb walls to access emergency light switches and turn them off. They do this diligently every night.
Writing Lessons from the news article
Turning off display lights and store signs can save enough electricity to power 750,000 households every year. If that's true, why isn't there a straightforward solution to the problem?
Thinking ahead and asking questions to find the answers in the article.
If a reader feels curious to know more after reading a couple of paragraphs, it is a good example of a hook in one's writing.
As questions get answered as one reads the article, it is fine example of the writer keeping in mind the target audience, thinking about the questions that are likely to arise and providing the answers for the same. It shows the reader empathy and when that happens, the reader is fully tuned in.
...it is fine example of the writer keeping in mind the target audience, thinking about the questions that are likely to arise and providing the answers for the same. It shows the reader empathy and when that happens, the reader is fully tuned in.
Statements that can be subject to interpretation enables the reader to discuss it with a peer. When that happens, writing is shared and in the process, the chances of one's writing being read is enhanced.
Snippets from the group discussion at the Young Writers' Club based on the above mentioned article.
“Why are the lights on in the night?”
“Perhaps the workers forgot to switch it off when they left in a hurry.”
“Or maybe there are workers still working inside and hence the lights are on.”
“Aren’t these lights automated? Isn’t there an easier to turn them off instead of having to climb so high?”
“Wouldn’t it increase their electricity bills?”
“Maybe these are 24/7 stores and hence the lights need to be on.”
“That is not likely. The video shows stores such as Rolex that are unlikely to be a 24/7 store. They aren’t as essential as the pharmacy stores.”
Could there be a more efficient solution to this problem? It seems less efficient to rely on a group of youngsters to turn off lights every night?
This question led to a few moments of silence before ideas started to pour in.
“Isn’t it the responsibility of the store owners to turn off the lights?”
“How about imposing fines?”
“The cost of electricity bills should be a good deterrent. But clearly that seems to have little effect.”
“How about having sensors? These could be time activated and could help the lights turn off by themselves at a given time.”
“They could even have motion sensors. These will come in handy especially if there are workers working late night inside the store.”
“Could sensors be expensive? Could that be the reason why they didn’t use these? These are fairly well known right?”
“These are high end stores and should be able to afford sensors. It is odd that they are not using these.”
Answers to questions
When we completed reading the article, we found answers to many of our questions. We took a minute to assess how everyone of us felt as readers having read this very interesting article.
Could there have been a little too much repetition in terms of describing the sport itself? The alternative point of view indicated that the perhaps the objective of writing this article was to promote the sport and as a side product highlight a social and economic issue. Hard to contest that one.
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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-11 age group, the Young Writers' Club program for the 12-14 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.
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