Every Hour Should Be Earth Hour

Dear Reader, You are cordially invited to partake in a global phenomenon to help our Earth. Come dressed as you like; this event can be fun, sensual, enjoyable-- anything you want it to be. All you have to do is switch off the lights. Save the date- this year's Earth Hour will be happening one week from tomorow, on Saturday, March 26, at 8:30 pm... wherever you are in the world. Earth Hour was first dreamed up by the World Wildlife Fund chapter in Sydney, Australia, as a way for people (and businesses) of all walks of life to take a stand against climate change. In 2007, the first year of this Green-Movement celebration, 2.2 million Sydneysiders and 2,100 businesses participated by switching their lights off from 7:30-8:30 pm. Last year, 128 countries and territories participated, and some major buildings and landmarks across the world, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Sears Tower, spent the hour in noble darkness. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Mxjbip6y04] Switching off the lights is such a simple action, but has so many wonderful potential consequences. Firstly, for a mass of people to cut off their energy usage (which in first-world countries is alarmingly immense), allows for a significant reduction in resources used. In the United States especially, we consume mass quantities of energy in every arena of our lives. The politics and complications of petroleum-based energy to fuel our automobiles, for example, has dominated much of the discourse surrounding energy policy (we discussed it in this blog at length, here, here and here). The energy for electric lighting, however, comprises a significant portion of our nation's overall energy consumption, and does not necessarily receive a lot of mainstream attention. According to the US Energy Information Administration, "EIA estimates that in 2009, about 511 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity were used for lighting by the residential and commercial sectors. This was equal to about 19% of the total electricity consumed by both of those sectors and 13.6% of total U.S. electricity consumption."

So, this Earth Hour, take the opportunity to make your hour of darkness something wonderful. Candlelight is a classic pleasure, and mixes beautifully with good, sustainably-farmed food, wine, and pleasant company. The simple natural light of the stars and moon, as Mother Nature's simple alternative, can also illuminate the lovely serenity of life. Take this Earth Hour as a time to be mindful of the energy-consuming chaos that we employ unconsciously throughout our daily lives... and this mindfulness doesn't have to last just one hour, either. I suggest making a ritual of it, in fact; why not try having an "Earth Hour" every night this week?


Click the Light Bulb to view WWF's brilliant presentation on small lifestyle changes you can make to "Go Beyond The Hour"

So, over the next week, take on the challenge to try and incorporate a little eco-mindfulness in your everyday life. Whether this means paying more attention to the unnecessary lights that, let's face it, most of us leave on for time to time, shaving a few minutes off of your shower-ritual, or risking a little potential soda-slosh by forgoing the nonbiodegradeable lids and straws that mindlessly sit atop our soft drinks, let's make Earth Hour a habit, rather than just an hour.

Either way, I'll see you -- or probably won't see you, rather -- on March 26, at 8:30 pm.

It will be dark, and it will be wonderful.


Elizabeth Neville

The Cornucopia Corner Weekly News