Be thankful for our wealth and prosperity. Don’t waste it. But don’t join the dark side this earth hour, either. Join me in turning many lights on, in thankfulness for the wealth I have and can share with others less fortunate.
I had heard about Earth Hour but didn’t quite remember when it was. On Sunday morning, the power went out in my neighborhood for about three hours: I thought Hydro was enforcing Earth Hour by shutting off the grid. In the end, my husband drove our 12-seater van to the nearest McDonald’s for coffee and breakfast. How ironic. We burned fossil fuel to buy non-fair trade coffee at McDonald’s of all places, but didn’t turn on a single light bulb. We felt quite righteous.
In any case, I have been reflecting on whether or not we should all live like Ethiopians and the difficult issue of taking the so-called moral high ground in matters of environment when our excesses ruined it for developing nations. I just feel squirmy when I hear gainfully employed urban-dwellers complain about everything that made their enviable situation possible. But I digress.
My husband and I are in the process of having our basement finished. It wouldn’t be worth a blog entry but for the combined occurrence of Earth Hour and the spilling of our basement’s content into our family room. All I will say about that is “Man, that’s a lot of Stuff!” Still, we manage, through regular purges and careful spending, to keep our Stuff within the square-footage of our suburban family home. Meanwhile, in a nearby business park, a monstrous self-storage facility is emerging. With drive-through capabilities. I can’t help but shake my head in disbelief when I think of the Earth Hour gushing I heard today – “… saved enough power to take Ottawa and Guelph off the grid!” – while our ever growing urban-sprawl boxes are no longer big enough to contain all the Stuff required by the Good Life. We now need to build storage facilities on what used to be prime agricultural land, drive our Stuff there and pay good money so our Stuff will have a decent place to call home. In the meantime, we turn off the energy-efficient light bulbs in our McMansions for an hour and get to feel like a Friend of the Earth.
I don’t know. It just doesn’t do it for me. (It didn’t do it for this guy, either.)
An ethical question: Is a television set tuned to the Canadiens-Maple Leafs game an essential appliance?
This will be the conundrum facing Montrealers who want to be green and participate in Earth Hour tomorrow night, but don’t want to miss a minute of a game with their beloved Canadiens.
Organizers of the second annual Earth Hour are asking governments, businesses and individuals to turn off the lights and any non-essential electrical appliances for an hour, between 8 and 9 p.m.
Personally, I don’t care for hockey (don’t watch television in any case) and care as much about Earth Hour as I do about, well, hockey. So I’m cool. Phew.
That’s not a cryptic prophecy of some kind. An hour of darkness will come at 8 pm on March 29 for Earth Hour.
I remember “Earth Days”—the blackout that affected much of the eastern seaboard back in 2004. I don’t recall whether the Rosewater Supper Club was serving organic lettuce by candlelight at that time.
Lights out in major cities has a depressing, quiet and eerie feel to it. I first experienced it in Communist Poland—where prior to 1989 many lights were out every night (and not because people were trying to be green). Ditto for the dark streets of east
But you know what? I support this Earth Hour so every spoiled westerner can feel and see what it’s like when the lights dim. As we congratulate ourselves for “making a difference” over a night of organic greens, perhaps some will turn their thoughts to those parts of the world where they don’t take basics (like light) for granted.
“See the difference you can make” is the slightly ironic Earth Hour slogan. “See a difference?” Well, not as I sit in the dark, I sure won’t. Earth Hour–taking us toward a bold new dark age. Literally.
Cross-posted to The Shotgun.
Andrea is getting old: The eastern seaboard blackout was actually in August 2003.