At 8:00 on Saturday night, the lights went out at Sydney’s Opera House, the Wat Arun Buddhist temple in Bangkok, the Royal Palace in Copenhagen and in thousands of homes in Christchurch, New Zealand (basically a typical Saturday night there — kidding!). Google also showed their support by going Blackle for a day, their tagline reading: “We’ve turned the lights out. Now it’s your turn.” All this to celebrate Earth Hour 2008 – a global event to raise awareness about climate change.
So it was with much anticipation that my family planned our day, making sure to eat, bathe and other light-necessitating activities well before the designated 8:00 pm. 7:58 pm, candles at the ready, we wondered…would tonight be the night we finally witnessed stars shining above the city of angels? 8:05pm. Wah, waaaah. Stepping out onto our street, we uttered dismay as we discovered we were the only house on our street in the dark. This, in socially conscious Los Feliz, where there are more per capita than just about anywhere. (Okay, I made this up, but there certainly are a lot of Priuses). What chance was there for the rest of the country, we wondered?
A Monday morning straw poll of socially conscious co-workers and friends revealed that the only ones who abided by the “no lights at home for an hour” rule did so by default (i.e., they were out). Hmmm. Sure, Los Angeles wasn’t one of the designated partner cities, but it was on Google, people — you can’t feign ignorance.
Despite the non-efforts of those in my circle, Earth Hour U.S. was upbeat: “Millions of Americans — in Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Francisco and dozens of other communities large and small — joined mayors, citizens’ groups, schools and corporations from coast to coast” (according to Earth Hour U.S. dot org). “Earth Hour broke down boundaries. Never before have people from so many different backgrounds, cultures, and geographies come together to press for urgent change. Never before have governments, NGOs, businesses and average people called upon each other and the world to find a new direction.”
If you say so. We’re still awaiting final figures on how many participated worldwide in Earth Hour (organizers were hoping for 100 million people or more), but my gut instinct says that figure is rather optimistic.
Let’s try and do a better job for Earth Hour 2009, shall we? I mean, it’s only about the future of planet.