Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lights Out for Earth Hour

Today was “Earth Hour” day. From 8:30-9:30PM local time, people participating in this global event turn off their lights for an hour. Some folks even go so far as to completely turn off their electricty for the hour.

Our family has developed a bit of a tradition around the occasion; the lights go off, we light a few candles, and we play a card game (typically, “Munchkin” or “Bang”). This year, however, the three eldest Minions of Chaos were “otherwise occupied”- the eldest is away all weekend for work, our daughter went to a bonfire with her boyfriend, and our middle son went for a sleepover at his buddy’s house.

So it was just Himself, myself and our two youngest boys tonight. Earlier in the evening, we baked some chocolate chip cookies. Then, just before Earth Hour began, we lit some candles and made Rice Krispie Squares (once the marshmallows are melted, there’s no electricity required ;-)). The boys marvelled at how easy they are to make- I love seeing the world through their eyes!

Of course, if we were being truly hardcore with our Earth Hour commitment, we’d have placed the pan in a cooler on ice to set up, rather than into the fridge, but hey; baby steps, right?

Obviously, turning off the lights for an hour is not going to solve the world’s environmental and energy problems- I am not as naïve as all that. But I do believe in the gesture, all the same- especially if accompanied by a dialogue about other ways we can reduce our footprint.

For The Minions of Chaos, of course, the fun is in playing cards and “hanging out” by candlelight. They enjoy it so much that they ask if we can do it more often! Thanks to older, above-ground power lines and big, old, trees, they do get to experience it more than once a year- we had three storms which caused us to lose power for 3 hours or more last year- one of those incidents was during a Pampered Chef Party- cooking demo by candlelight ... it was ... Interesting.

I have to say, it is a nice way to spend an evening.

We didn’t end up playing a game by candlelight this year; instead, once the various treats were set to cool, we leashed the dogs and went for a walk. We toured the neighbourhood, boys and puppies alike, the boys checking to see who else amongst our neighbours had the lights off for Earth Hour, while the puppies checked their “pee-mail”. Sadly, we didn’t notice quite as many lights out as we normally do- I’m thinking because many people were not aware it was tonight, or they knew, but forgot.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the warm evening, and the puppies enjoyed having “walkies” down by the river ... We arrived home shortly after the official end of Earth Hour, Oftentimes we’ll extend our lights out to two hours, but this year, alas, we did not.
Loving our planet is really a way of loving ourselves- being ‘green’ doesn’t just save the earth, the practices usually mean healthier living for her people, too.

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