Since we live off grid now, that wonderful novelty of a power outage is rather quotidian for us.
However, I remember well the liberating thrill of the lights and various whirring hums powering down in an unexpected power failure. Time to read by candlelight!
Earth hour is time to do it intentionally.
My favorite earth hour was years ago in B.C. From my home with a view of half the town and the lake, I stood outside with my neighbours in front of our darkened houses and watched the lights around us wink out steadily.
A dozen blazing sodium-vapour lights illuminating the grocery store parking lot down the hill from us stayed on. Bright was an understatement, in contrast to the majority of homes darkened around them.
I ran inside and phoned them. I got a manager on the line. Was he aware of Earth Hour? He was.
“Oh, no. ” he said immediately. “Are we sticking out like a sore thumb?”
In three or four minutes, we watched those piercing sodium lights pop and fade out, as we cheered. Without that central feature blazing like an arena, the town looked like it might have historically, lit by gas lights, or candles. A few windows were lit, some houses winked out a few minutes late, but the vast majority of houses were participating – an achievement of collective action.
A beautiful treat, to see the contrast between the usual and the possible, the present normal and probable past, and notice the volume of light pollution we generate together.
Lights out is fun! And ever so quiet. The peace is lovely.