Earth Hour is today, March 31st begining at 8:30pm (your own time zone) and ending at 9:30.
If I’m not mistaken this will be the fourth year in a row we have participated in earth hour. I wholeheartedly support the efforts of this organization and think it highly important that we all do everything we can to participate. It is a great opportunity to educate your children, and spend time with them ‘off the grid.’
I worry a lot about the place that we are leaving for our children, and firmly believe that we as North American’s need to start giving up some of our comforts to benefit the planet. I realize it will not all happen all at once, but it also won’t happen at all if we don’t. Something has got to give somewhere or our planet is eventually going to implode. I also realize that strides are being made every day towards a greener earth, but after how long we’ve been abusing the planet, is it really fast enough?
I have a child with autism. Autism was 1 in 10,000 20 years ago. When Ben was diagnosed in 2000 it was one in 170, and today it is one in every 130. It is reaching epidemic proportions, and while there is nothing to prove my thoughs, I believe there is a genetic predisposition but also that our environment plays a role in onset.
The first year that we participated was the first year we were living in Calgary. I was mortified the next day when I found out that Calgary was the only city in the world who’s energy useage had gone UP during earth hour! Unfortunately It kind of personifies the city we live in. I had more than one person say to me that year when I mentioned it was coming up that they would be sure to turn on every electronic gadget in their house, and that the whole thing was ‘hogwash.’ On the radio I heard a phone call from a woman who exclaimed that it was all just a giant government scam. Some people really just aren’t getting it. After the winter we’ve had here in Canada though, I hope things are becoming abundantly clear.
The year after that debacle, I decided to show my kids that to really make a difference we have to get off our butts and actually do something. So that evening as earth hour began I flipped off the breakers, then I grabbed the kids, and the dogs on leashes and we all started going to the doors of houses who still had their lights on. We were polite, and just explained that it was earth hour and the reasons behind it, and most proceeded to turn their lights off too! For the most part people just didn’t know. In the years since, almost our entire block has remained blacked out for the duration. The kids are always very proud to know they played a role in educating others.