On Saturday, March 27th at 8:30 p.m. I should have been sitting in the dark. I had signed up for Earth Hour, a wonderful World Wildlife Fund program that asked everyone around the world– for just one hour — to turn off their lights in support of positive climate change. A follow-the-sun program, once it hit the appointed time here in New York we were supposed to be plunged into darkness. Instead, I was snuggled up on the couch with my big girl and my husband watching Disney’s Princess and the Frog.
I had every intention of participating. The kids would normally be asleep. No problem there. I was going to get my hubby to hang out in the dark with a little, cough, positive reinforcement. But then we had a long day in which the baby, who is increasingly becoming an attention hog, drove us all a little batty. And Big Girl. Poor Big Girl. She got no attention whatsoever. So I made an executive decision. She would be allowed to stay up late with us, watch TV, and eat popcorn. Trader Joe’s jelly beans, too. So at 8:30 p.m. we were on the couch watching our show. In my defense the rest of the house was completely dark. Not even a nightlight shined. Our electricity usage was pretty low: one flat screen, one dimmed overhead light, and a DVD player. And about three minutes of microwave use. Still, I failed in my pledge. I should feel awful, right? You know what? I don’t feel so guilty.
We had an amazing time. I got to hug Big Girl for an entire 93 minute movie. I got to have a few laughs with my husband. (His best line, after hearing that [spoiler alert!] Tiana’s daddy had died, “It never fails. EVERY single Disney movie. Every one.”) I got to watch a soon-to-be-classic Disney flick. Did I turn out every light and make an impact? No, but I think the Earth will forgive me. The whole point of this blog is to explain how we can make a difference even if we don’t go full force. Natural as possible, right?
Besides, the rest of the world made up for my selfishness, or so media reports. A billion people participated, according to the WWF. Not just individuals, either. Companies and government agencies, too. In Spain, for example, six million people turned off their lights. In Las Vegas, large portions of the strip went dark! Many of the main garish signs along the corridor were snuffed for an hour. In Indonesia, the country saved 811 MW. Irish buildings and national monuments were dark, too. In Australia, the iconic Sydney Opera House got involved. Even the Pyramids got lost in the night as they were stripped of their illumination. Amazing. (And I wonder what it looked like from space — all those big landmarks switching off the power?)
I think it’s really incredible that, as a society, so many people and entities got involved. It shows true promise. We all agree that something has to change. And plenty of people were willing to make a change — even a small one — to show solidarity and commitment. There are plenty of reports and pundits making predictions about what this event — the largest of its kind — means to the world, so I’ll skip my own analysis. Instead, I’ll pledge to turn all my lights out next year. And hope that all this attention helps create a tidal swell of improvements and changes in our world before then. Who knows? Stranger things have happened, right? And in the meantime, I am so glad I made the choice I made. No, we didn’t turn off all our lights, but in the process we lit our little girl’s heart aglow. Well worth it, I think.
Did you participate in Earth Hour? If so, what did you do? Do you think it will mean anything to the climate change fight? I’d like to hear your opinion.