Friday, March 27th, 2009 | Author:  | 4,990 views - starting Aug 9/09

Earth Hour— what an exciting event to partake in! … think of it — 1 billion people worldwide are expected to participate in this event this year … 1 billion! … will you be one of them? … 1 hour of darkness … that’s a small favour to ask in light of the abundant supply of electricity most of us enjoy every minute of every day …

“8:30PM local time, wherever you live on planet earth. Saturday 28 March 2009”

a powerful slogan … an even more powerful message … YOU can join the rest of the environmentally-conscious world population in demonstrating your concern and your willingness to action …

what do you need to do? … it’s simple — flick off your lights and other non-essential electrical devices for 1 hour … it’s virtually effortless … plus it’s fun, easy, and free!

we are all of us but 1 person living amongst an astoundingly increasing world population … it can be easy to slip into the mentality that any 1 of our simple acts of kindness toward the planet, wildlife, or fellow humans will go unnoticed, will be too trite to effect any observable change, will wane with insufficient impact … but such thoughts are self-defeating and wholly inaccurate …

Earth Hour is a chance to seamlessly connect with environmentalists across the world … to silently shout to political leaders that climate change is real, that you’re concerned about it, and that you’re making an effort to help the cause …

this year is particularly timely, as Earth Hour takes place just days prior to the G20 summit in London, England … as the primary sponsor of Earth Hour, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) anticipates that a proudly cogent stance by the world community will help remind world leaders that environmental issues are of paramount importance …

it appears that political leaders and industry executives are sometimes shrouded in mental darkness because the policies they implement are often grossly detrimental to the environment … hopefully the act of turning off the lights on city streets and inside buildings will serve to enlighten the world …

this is what Earth looks like on a typical night … that’s a pretty (artificially) bright planet! …. the idea behind Earth Hour is to mute the electrically produced brilliance on land and instead enjoy the scintillating stars overhead … it’s a romantic notion, but an experience that will hopefully revive a humble and respectful connection between the essences of Human, Earth and Sky …

Earth Hour started officially in 2007 when the WWF office in Sydney, Australia organized a city-wide event that involved 2.2 million individuals and businesses and decreased energy use by 10.2% … the concept was actually inspired by the exemplary 14 million households and businesses in Bangkok, Thailand who, in the midst of the deep fuel crisis of 2005, simultaneously turned off 1 light for 5 minutes … incredibly, the amount of electricity saved was sufficient to shut down 1 of the country’s 14 power stations … in a similar vein, the city of San Francisco, California planned an annual Lights Out San Francisco event in October 2007 …

march 29, 2008 marked the first coordinated world wide Earth Hour event, and it was an inspiring success … an estimated 53 million people participated! … you may think this pales in comparison to the more than 6.7 billion resident humans on Earth, but consider that 2 billion+ people (about 30% of the world population) completely lack access to any electricity (a mild reminder of how fortunate the rest of us are) … that means more than 11% of the world population who have access to electricity participated in Earth Hour 2008 … that’s pretty impressive, as this was the first global Earth Hour and word-of-mouth was the primary means of spreading news about it …

in 2009, an estimated 680 cities in 47 countries — more than twice the number of countries that participated last year — have pledged to partake in Earth Hour … the sentiment is catching on!!

it’s motivating to see (photos of) city monuments unlit (world renown structures such as the Pyramids in Giza, Egypt; statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Eiffel Tower in Paris, France; CN Tower in Toronto, Canada; Acropolis in Athens, Greece; Colosseum in Rome, Italy; and others), street billboards rendered invisible or illegible due to the lack of lighting, darkened sky scrapers blending into the pitch of night, and the familiar stark white of Google’s homepage converted to a striking and proud ebony in Earth Hour solidarity …

this event is HUGE! … and it’s profoundly meaningful ….

the focus of Earth Hour is on the symbolic principle of the action and the message it carries, not necessarily on the total amount of energy saved (albeit decreasing energy consumption is always an important goal) …

however, while the issues of climate change and environmental conservation are serious, Earth Hour can — and should — certainly be fun! … find out creative things to do, places where you can enjoy community events, and ways to engage the whole family

enjoy your 1 hour of darkness … you may even realize how soothing the flame of a candle is and resist turning on electrical lights after Earth Hour ends in your part of the world … or perhaps you’ll decide to repeat this experience periodically and celebrate your own Earth Hour as a tribute to our gorgeous planet and as a way of giving back, cutting back, kicking back …

Category: Earth Hour
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2 Responses

  1. 1
    Jeff 

    When we experienced the widespread power blackout on the east coast on Thursday, August 14, 2003, the way many people handled the situation was inspiring.

    People I spoke with after the fact expressed how they were profoundly affected as they witnessed and/or participated in acts of kindness and connection as they were forced to ‘unplug’ from many of the ‘conveniences’ (read distractions) that we take for granted on a daily basis.

    I, for one, ended up camping in the backyard of my house while my then significant other and I cooked a feast on our portable propane stove, enjoyed a bottle of wine and enjoyed a truly rare opportunity to experience the dazzling night sky filled with countless stars that would normally be obscured by the ambient light from the city and street lights.

    It was one of those times when you feel a true sense of connection with nature (usually impossible to experience in the middle of a large city like Toronto). I can honestly say it was one of the most peaceful moments I have ever experienced.

    Simple pleasures.

  2. 2
    Ken Eustachen 

    Yeah, I remember that night!

    I live in Hamilton and we had a black out too. We realized how much power that we were using and decided enough is enough. The wife my two kids and me spent the night in the shed with soy biscuits. We got to get really close as a family and looked at the Christmas album together. My daughter brought her sea monkeys which swam away from the candle light when we moved it. Boy did she get a kick out of that! We didn’t go outside the whole night. It’s those moments that you least expect.