Earth Hour – Turning Off The Lights For One Night

Light switchOur mayor just announced that Bloomington will participate in Earth Hour 2008 on March 29. Earth Hour, run by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), is a global climate change initiative that calls on individuals and businesses around the world to turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday between 8 and 9 pm. The city public works department is planning to shut off all the “non-essential lighting and other electricity-consuming devices that will not have an impact on public safety” and is hoping residents and businesses will do the same.

It’s a cool concept and it’s cool to look at the satellite images taken during Earth Hour 2007 but the whole thing feels a bit superficial to me. I understand that it is symbolic and that it’s a great way to get some attention from the press and from every day citizens and invite them to stop and think about their electricity consumption. But turning out the lights for one hour seems pretty insignificant. Couldn’t we manage more than that?

I’d especially like to see Bloomington step up and commit to a larger project.  Our community prides itself in being progressive and committed to sustainable living so I think we should embrace a bigger challenge.  Winter’s over so I think we’ve missed out on Crunchy Chicken’s “Freeze Yer Buns Challenge” but perhaps we could all commit to setting our thermostats no lower than 78 during the summer months.  Or perhaps we could all commit to riding the bus to work once a month.  Or maybe we could each plant a victory garden and grow at least a portion of our own food.

Or maybe we should have Earth Hour every week instead of every year.  I’d be happy to reclaim quiet Sunday nights gazing at the stars with no lights, no TV, no distractions.  It sounds peaceful.

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Linnea said,

    March 30, 2008 @ 4:47 am

    They turned off the Space Needle. It was pretty amazing, with the entirety of the Seattle Center (except the Key Arena, for no good reason) dark, the sky actually seemed lighter. Maybe it was just a stronger contrast between the dark structure and the clouds, which were reflecting all the light that people decided they couldn’t live without. It was still too light (because of the street lights and six lanes of traffic that pass by my windows) to need candles. I felt a little cheated, so I pulled all the blinds and lit a candle anyway. How was your Earth Hour?

  2. 2

    Maggie said,

    April 1, 2008 @ 12:19 am

    That sounds awesome!
    We actually totally forgot Earth Hour. We were housesitting for my aunt, watching my two cousins and their two dogs. I’m sure the house had a ton of lights on since they are not eco-conscious at all and I was getting tired of walking around turning off lights after them. *sigh* Maybe next year.

  3. 3

    Gini said,

    April 3, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

    I realize this is rather late, but I’m just catching up with your entries. We did our Earth Hour sitting in the dark in the living room. Ted wouldn’t let me light a candle over concern about the electricity it cost to make it. There was sufficient light from the streetlight that we weren’t completely in the dark (at least literally). If it had been a little warmer, we would have sat outside. We had very pleasant conversation, but next year perhaps we’ll manage a more exciting activity.

  4. 4

    Rob said,

    April 3, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

    Angel and I participated with the Earth Hour. We didn’t have anything planned, so we just sat in the living room with everything off. Thankfully we have thermal drapes, otherwise we would have been cheated out of any darkness too, because of all the lights around us for the apartment complex and parking lot. We really enjoyed the time to talk and have committed to doing it once a week for now on, not really as a green thing, but more as a chance to just sit back and reflect without distractions.

  5. 5

    Maggie said,

    April 5, 2008 @ 12:20 am

    Quiet time with your partner is definitely valuable.

    Gini, I’ll see if I can find some Amish-made beeswax candles that were made without any electrical input so you and Ted can have the option of guilt-free light. 🙂

  6. 6

    Simple Pleasures | GreenCouple.com said,

    September 9, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

    […] in my inbox today.  A Spanish friend of mine forwarded information about an event similar to Earth Hour that is scheduled for September 17th.  I had to laugh at the translation and yet it turned out […]

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