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Earth Hour

Leonicka Valcius: Earth Hour

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

At 8:30 pm I ran around the house and turned off all the lights. A year ago I wouldn't have done so - I don't think I even knew about Earth hour last year. But after working with my university's sustainability office I felt that I had an obligation to do what was right. So off the lights went.

It felt like the slowest hour of my life. It wasn't the darkness so much - days with shuttered windows during hurricane season had made me used to darkness. It was the inherent passivity of it all. I turned off the lights and thought to myself, "Okay. Now what?" Earth Day felt like a fun, hip thing to do but I wasn't really sure how it was helping the cause.

Raising awareness, maybe? That's always a worthwhile goal. But what exactly was Earth Hour trying to communicate? What were we, as a global community, being asked to think about? How did turning off the lights for an hour affect our collective attitudes about energy conservation? Do we really care? Or was this a gimmick? A quick and easy thing to do to stay part of the "green" trend? Or worse is it a sort of atonement? Turn off your lights for an hour and wipe away the guilt of a year's worth of wasteful practices?

Maybe I'm putting too much thought into it. Maybe if I had been rocking out at free concert in Nathan Phillips Square, the hour would have passed much faster and I would not have had the time to worry about silly things like the Earth.

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