Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lights Out for Mother

Yesterday, March 26, 2011, was the day we globally recognized Earth Hour 2011- from 8:30 pm to 9:30pm all over the world people shut their lights off in a stand against climate change. It is an annual event that started in Australia back in 2007, and I have been aware of it for the last two-three years.

Last night, as it neared 8:30pm, my husband and I shut off all our lights, I unplugged as many wall warts as I could find, and we met on the couch with the two dogs at our feet...
Our brightest light
We had a plan. We would take this hour to share a story together... and to make it even more fun, it would be a children's story!
Book 1 of the Famous Five by Enid Blyton.
My husband had purchased the Famous Five book for me months ago on Amazon forgetting that reading printed word puts me in a world of pain with my new limited vision. It was a surprise as we had both found out that Enid Blyton was one of J.K. Rowling's influences and neither of us had ever read her stories before - we said we would have to check her out - what I didn't know was that he went straight away to obtain the book for me! I had practically forgotten about it when, through my StumbleUpon group, I was reminded by a blog post all about Enid Blyton! I made a request after reading the post, "Can we read the book during Earth Hour on Saturday?"

It was an easy yes - after I read the blog post about Ms. Blyton to my husband he was just as ready to get into the story as I was!
He got under the light...
and read...
and read...
And the story was so much fun. Three kids going off on holiday to their strange uncle's house by the sea, where they would meet their strange cousin George (who is a girl, but doesn't really like that so much!) who has an island all her own! What fun?! What an escape!

Made all the better when the story is read aloud, shared together at the same time. I got a little jealous of my read aloud hubby, and headache-be-damned, I decided to read a little aloud myself (one chapter only, but somehow I made it through!).
I found the words...
and I read them...
I shared what I could...
I forgot how much I miss books, not just reading, but books. It was really nice. I wanted to go on forever, but the headache had started after the first page, so I conceded defeat when I reached the goal I set for myself: one chapter.

When my husband picked up the reading again, I decided it was time for a reward (also a little caffeine always takes the edge off a headache!).
Yummy! Although, for Earth Hour, I think DARK chocolate would have been more appropriate!
I had two blocks of the bar as my husband read to us about Timothy, a dog that was sounding a lot like our former beagle, Chewy. We both paused when he reached a line that touched us both:
Timothy was described as "an awfully chewy kind of dog."
I had my husband show me the line because I didn't believe him. Our dog Chewy did earn her name, (although it was also a nod to my Star Wars geekiness!) so it seemed as though this Timothy character was turning out to be exactly like a dog we once knew!

The hour passed quickly. We barely scraped the surface of the Famous Five book, but we are curious enough to want to know what happens next. We had a wonderful Earth Hour, but you may be asking one really big question:

How Did Your Participation In Earth Hour 2011 Help Climate Change?

It is a salient question, and one that I was left asking myself as the night came to a close. After all of that what difference did we really make. For one, I was disenchanted by my surroundings:
Lights may be out in my house, but the street lights are always shining brightly!
When I saw that it was actually kind of difficult to experience dark in some places in my house, I really began to wonder how much electricity is being used here ALL OF THE TIME? And, with that, as a perfect segue, let me tell you how this made a huge difference in my lifestyle, which may, in the long run, help make a dent in climate change:
  • I recognized the complete addiction I have to electricity and how unnecessary it is in many instances.
  • I began to think about what power is needed and when power is wasted.
  • I started a mental (and the preliminaries of an actual written) inventory of power users in my home.
  • I have begun to question my need for so many of these things.
  • I felt more relaxed last night after operating in candlelight alone for a little over an hour (I actually prepared dinner by candlelight as well to test the effectiveness of the candles I had as light sources) than I have in years.
  • I had an amazing sleep last night.
  • Due to the last two bullet points I am thinking about incorporating more candle time and less light bulb time in my nights.
  • Climate change is on my mind.
These may not be the wide-sweeping answers you were hoping for, but, for me a thought in my mind is always being tended to - it gets air, water, and just the right amount of fertilizer - some thoughts grow into little seedlings that need time until they bear fruit, other grow into invasive grape vines, spreading across every aspect of my thinking and life. Who knows which kind of thought Earth Hour has planted in my mind? I can guarantee only one thing: a seed was planted and it will grow.


  1. I love your list of how your participation helped!


  2. I am embarrassed to say - I totally forgot about Earth hour. :( Last year my hubs and I read on the couch together but separately. It was a nice change of pace. I love how you spent yours this year!