I didn’t know it was the day of Earth Hour, the day that everyone around the world is encouraged to turn their lights off for sixty minutes, until it was just hours before the event. I was glad that friends announced it on facebook. I was to be at home at the assigned hour for our time zone: 8:30 pm EDT. Since I knew about it now, and didn’t have any plans, I felt I had to partake. I left all the lights out and took our dog for a walk.
It was a clear night so I thought it perfect to go down by the lake. On the way, it made me smile to notice about half of the houses had all their lights out. I went to the dock first and heard many birds in the water chatting away. I presumed it was the same species I see here during the day. Canada geese, swans, wood ducks, mallards and a couple others I don’t know. Hanging my feet over the end of the high dock, I watched several geese paddle away, I assume because my companion was a four legged. I wished for all the lights on this island to be off, so we could be involved as a community in this global event. Someone told me earlier in the day that when Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, was in space one year ago looking down on earth, it was a moving moment to see how the world looked different in that one hour, hour by hour across the globe. As though so many people were thinking the same thing in the 24 hour period, those who knew about the Earth Hour idea. I wondered what mood would occur in our town if the only light on was the lighthouse. Because it had to be. Customers at restaurants would practice patience as food being prepared under candlelight would take longer to deliver. Would they savour the flavours more at their table’s candlelight. If Shire Hall (our city hall) made it so that no lights were on in any of its buildings and streetlights were off.
Some places around the world turn all their lights off, making the evening a spectacle, celebrating the gifts of nature and night.
And if a helicopter flew above the County, maybe they’d see only a few lights on. Like the hospice, hospital, nursing home and the occasional residence that didn’t hear the news. Maybe those places need more light anyways.
My second stop was the beach. With no street lights around, I could see all of the constellations that we’ve been taught to look for since we were kids. It seemed that the only pace to walk was a slow one while my dog and I broke this spring’s ‘cornsnow’ under our paws and feet.
As the end of Earth Hour approached we made our way back home. The return route had lights on in every house we passed. I saw some friends, who like me earlier in the day, didn’t know it was the day of Earth Hour. We talked about why we didn’t know about it. It wasn’t in the news. Part of me thought that it’s no big deal. It’s only one night, it doesn’t make a difference. But then the other part of me said that’s part of the problem.