(click the thumbnails of the photos in this post if you want to see bigger versions)
To truly understand the purpose of Earth Hour, you must first realize that it’s not just about one hour. It’s about the conversation it engages of saving the earth, conserving energy, how we use energy, and how we can help to prevent further waste of our resources. It’s about the reminder to be aware of what you do, and what you use. It’s about awareness. For me, it’s also about being a part of something that’s world wide. It’s about feeling that connection to like-minded people all across the globe. For 24 hours, as it rolls through each time zone, we’re connected for something POSITIVE. Not war, not hatred, not destruction, but for the preservation of OUR collective home.
I’m not an activist for anything (too extreme for my tastes), but if I was, it’d be for the earth and for animals. I try to do my part when I can, but I know I could do more. I could ride my bike more, I could recycle more, I could use less energy, I could be less ‘plugged in’, I could speak up more. We could all do more, but if we all do at least a little something it helps. Plant some trees, car pool, turn off the lights when you leave a room, conserve water, buy local, stop wasting bottles of water, and so on. We all know what we could do. There are so many options for people of ALL income levels (not everyone can shell out the funds for solar panels, or a hybrid vehicle), that there’s no excuse to not do at least a little SOMETHING for the benefit of our planet. Really, we could all do more.
That said, I’ve always tried to make Earth Hour kind of fun. I take the time to remember to disconnect. I spend far too much time looking at screens all day, and Earth Hour brings it all into perspective, and brings it all back to what’s important. I turn off EVERYTHING (aside from the fridge), and unplug what I can. No lights, no tv, no microwave, no stove, no computer, no phone, no driving, etc. Nothing that requires electricity or energy of any kind.
I started participating in Earth Hour in 2008. That year I just took a walk with my (now ex) b/f around the block. Across the street was a Starbucks, and I was delighted to see that they were participating in Earth Hour too! I paid cash, of course, and recycled my cup. It was only the 2nd year of Earth Hour, so not many people really knew much about it yet, so it was a bit disappointing to not see more of the neighbourhood involved. Either way, we still enjoyed a night walking around for an hour, and took the stairs (11 stories!) back to the apartment, so as to avoid the use of the elevator.
By 2009, I had developed a great circle of friends, who thankfully were also into Earth Hour, so I could ‘celebrate’ with even more folks. We gathered at a friend’s house for a candlelit night of Trivia Pursuit, and freeze dried astronaut food. lol It was great, and I wish I could do it again.
2010 was my first Earth Hour in California, and my husband and I played cards for about an hour and a 1/2. It was a more subdued night, but fun, and still a great reminder of all the things I mentioned before about Earth Hour. It was a little weird being in a different time zone from everyone ‘back home’, since we now celebrated Earth Hour at different times!
This year I think we’ll end up playing cards again, or reading via candlelight since I have several books that I have yet to dig into. We don’t have a dining table, so a nice candlelit dinner isn’t really an option, and we don’t really have any board games (not for just 2 people especially). ‘Beyond the Hour’ I think I’ll make it my goal to use up less electricity every month this year compared with the prior year. Our hydro bill shows use our monthly usage, so this will make it easy to track. We’ve already done it for March, which is great. We live in a very environmentally aware community, so there’s lots of inspiration around here on how to help our planet (more on that in future posts). I’ll also pledge to read more and disconnect more, waste less, and plant a tree again this year.
Earth Hour isn’t really about the Hour. It’s about the Earth.