At 8:30 PM this coming Saturday, people around the world will be turning off all the electrical lights in their homes. Actually, this will be taking place at 8:30 PM local time, so the darkness will move around the globe in 24 hour-long shifts.
The hour is a simple activist event known as Earth Hour. Its organizers describe the choice of turning off one’s lights for that hour as “a vote for Earth”. Leaving your lights on? That’s a “vote for global warming”.
Of course, it’s not that simple. There are many more electrical appliances in our homes than just our lights, and the choices we make day in and day out matter more than what we choose to do for one hour once a year.
Besides that, not everyone even knows about Earth Hour. It’s not fair to categorize their inaction as vote for global warming. My village isn’t listed among those municipalities taking part in the activist event. Neither is the nearest city. For people around where I live, this coming Saturday will be just another Saturday.
Still, I do care about the idea underlying the Earth Hour event. So, what can I do? I can practice, warm up for Earth Hour. Every day this week, at 8:30 PM I can turn off my electrical lights, and some of my electrical appliances too. The purpose of the exercise is worthwhile: To reset my expectations from electrical consumption as the default for my life, so I can learn to dial down my electrical demand to a level that does not contribute to the expansion of a power grid fed by polluting fossil fuel technologies.