Earth Hour Aims for 1 Billion - Sanity Optional

To offset my luxury-retail-induced-guilt, I figured now was as good a time as any to mention an upcoming event that is close to my little tree-hugging heart. In just under 8 days time, myself and a few hundred million of my closest friends will be turning off all our non-essential lights and appliances for an hour. Yes, a whole entire 60 minutes. And no, your computer is not essential. Here's a little video I prepared earlier. And when I say "I", I obviously mean the awesome peeps over at Earth Hour.

[Skip over this next bit if you don't want to read my little soapbox rant!]

This is social empowerment at its best, because for far too long, far too many of us concluded that nothing we did would make a difference. Our politicians did the same, deciding that only one suburb, town, city, or even one little country couldn't possibly make a difference. And so we continued to do nothing; business as usual.

But now, what started with 2.2 million Sydney-siders turning off their lights in 2007 has since expanded, a mere 3 years later, to encompass 1,858 cities, towns and municipalities across 81 countries (with more joining the cause every day!) Holy mackerel!

The inevitable nay-sayers lament that Earth Hour is mere tokenism, empty symbolism, yada yada yada. As far as I'm concerned, the very fact that up to 1 billion people will participate in Earth Hour this year speaks volumes about the ideals behind Earth Hour; we are finally beginning to understand that every little bit counts, that each of us can make a difference, and that every person we coax into celebrating Earth Hour with us is yet another person who is more likely to consider what else they can do to lessen their impact.

This year also happens to be crucial for the campaign, as in a few short months time a whole posse of the world's leaders will be heading to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to sign a new deal that will supersede the Kyoto Protocol. (No, the irony of jetting them all across the world for a climate change conference is not lost on me. But it can't be worse than Sydney setting off fireworks to celebrate last year's Earth Hour. Seriously, who signed off on that?!)

[OK you can start reading again. It's safe, I promise!]

But all this begs the question...

What Can One Do In the Dark for One Hour?

Us Sydney-siders apparently like to hang out on the harbour, listen to the ferry's sound the beginning of Earth Hour at 8.30pm sharp with a charming cacophony of honks, watch the lights turn out on the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and then presumably...sit around for an hour. In the dark.

Melbourne folk are slightly more practical, if not a little unstable - Federation Square will crank a people-pedal-powered concert. You heard it here first.

But if hanging out in the dark with flash-mobs isn't your cup of tea, here's a little list I prepared earlier*. And when I say "I", I obviously mean with a great deal of help from the peeps over at Earth Hour and the kids at Green Daily.

*Disclaimer: Most of these are a tiny bit tongue-in-cheek. And when I say a tiny bit, I mean WAY tongue-in-cheek. I waive all responsibility if you can't tell which of these aren't serious. Not that I don't believe in you, because I do. I really do.

Fifteen Fool-Proof Earth Hour Activities

1. Attend a local Earth Hour event or organise your own by throwing an Earth Hour street party with your neighbours. The ones you like, anyway.

2. Gather family and friends for a night picnic in your local park. Look at the stars, dodge the dog poop.

3. Take the kids trick or treating. It's worth a shot.

4. Get drunk alone in the dark, like every other Saturday.

5. Enjoy a family dinner by candlelight.

6. Sit in the dark and share stories. Preferably not alone. Pets don't count.

7. Share a romantic night in with your loved one. Sexy time. Pets definitely don't count.

8. Roam the neighbourhood pretending to be a zombie.

9. Go for a long drive with the headlights off. Preferably in a SUV/4WD. Call everyone you know and be smug about your "contribution".

10. Organise a family night playing board games. Bring on the Jenga!

11. Dig out hand-cranked flashlight and make shadow puppets like in the old days. Quickly realise that the old days weren't much fun.

12. Congratulate yourself on your dogged perseverance for going an hour without playing Wii.

13. Trip over the cat. Curse. A lot. And make it loud while you're at it.

14. Huddle in the basement with a shotgun and a case of canned ravioli and pretend it's the apocalypse.

15. Worry that the aliens won't be able to find your house in the dark.

And if all else fails, you can always proclaim self-righteously at the top of your little lungs that turning off all the lights for an hour doesn't really accomplish anything and is just a red herring so corporations and governments can distract people from the real issues.

I kid, I kid! The environment is a VERY SERIOUS MATTER PEOPLE!! So at 8.30pm next Saturday, turn your lights off because you care. Or because all the cool kids are doing it. Or because you forgot to pay your electricity bill. But mainly because you care.

You've got a week to get planning, so get to it! And while I'm throwing demands around, have a great weekend too!

[Images via Night Out, Red Bubble, Style-Files, WeHeartIt and more Style-Files]


William Street Store said...

Amazing post!!!
I just added the video to my latest post and linked you on it!!
Gorgeous and very inspiring, I will definitely be getting involved! Perfect excuse for a romantic evening with candles while help bringing awareness to our environment.

K.Line said...

Excellent suggestions! :-) I did hear that, if everyone turns off the lights for an hour and then turns them on again at the same moment, a surge could cause a major power out the likes of which happened on the eastern seaboard in 2003. Don't know if it's entirely true, but it worries me slightly!

Jack said...

Great post!!!

Andrea said...

AWESOME pics..I just fell in love with those shoes omg..lovely yourself a follower missy ;)

Take care, A.

Ms Unreliable said...

Belle - Thank you dear, and I agree! It's the only day of the year that Mr. Unreliable even considers eating dinner at the dining table, let alone with candles! And thank you again for spreading the word :)

K.Line - Hehe I worry about that too, although I have a vague recollection of a discussion with my physics teacher (back in high school, hence the vague!) and apparently it's a bit of a myth. I asked Google and found no credible data to back it up, so I remain hopeful that we can avoid massive blackouts :D

Sag - Thank you! I'm glad my little rant doesn't seem to have offended anyone :D

AlpHa Buttonpusher - The shoes are fantastic aren't they? I wish I was coordinated enough to wear cute heels like those!

Erica said...

Hi, found you through blogs of note (i'm sure you're getting that a lot). I love this post. I couldn't have said it better myself (rant and all). Thanks!

Tait said...

Hey! Great post! I was just wandering the blogs of note, was looking at concrete and honey, saw a comment made, clicked on it, and it turned out to be you!
I very much enjoyed your post, but I'm commenting on the video. In Atlanta, Georgia, just north of the city is a town called Marietta, where I grew up. There's not a whole lot in Marietta, as far as attractions go, except for one thing: The Big Chicken. I'm glad the Big Chicken made its way into the video and I thought I would let you know how happy that made me! Thanks!

Jay said...

I loved your fifteen suggestions. I wish I had read them prior to Earth Hour!

Ms Unreliable said...

Erica - Hehe thank you, I'm surprised you read the rant, I expected everyone to skip right past it :D

Tait - Hehe go the big chicken! I totally understand, us Australians have an odd fixation with putting "big" things in little towns...often fruit for some reason. :D

Doolz - There's always next year! I'm trying to start a zombie Earth Hour movement, don't ask me why, there's no logical reasoning :D

Tait said...

:) Thanks so much for commenting! It was indeed the KFC! There was a big t'do back in the 80's when Pepsi Co plastered their name right up smack dab in the middle of Coke country, but laws, being lawful as they are, prevented anyone from doing anything about it! Glad your Aussie blog found something of worth here in Jah-Juh :) Cheers!