I thought I’d take this opportunity to remind/share with everyone that tonight is Earth Hour. For those that don’t know, this is a yearly occurrence where all over the world at 8:30PM local time, people and places switch out the lights. The reason for this is to attract attention to the unsustainable usage of the world’s resources, particularly energy. But it goes way deeper than energy, and people yawping about solar panels as far as I’m concerned. Take a look at the Earth Hour webpage, and this youtube video, to fill yourselves in…
…Good. Now you’ve done that, I’ll continue with the real thrust of my post.
A lot of the discussion over Earth Hour centres around the gross practicalities of energy/resource consumption. Who can blame the poor muggles for this; it is a typically capitalist reaction, the capital being discussed here being the Earth’s resources and the impact we have on them. Naysayers will say that there is no point to Earth Hour, that the power stations keep puffing out smoke anyway, and that all people are doing is causing more pollution by burning candles and generally making twats of themselves. Jeremy Clarkson even goes as far as switching on all his appliances in counter protest. Fine; that is irrelevant.
Take time to celebrate the spirit of community this Earth Hour!
I am an ardent supporter of Earth Hour, but my reasons have nothing to do with protest, or people yawping about wanting solar panels on their roof… such people usually don’t know what they’re on about anyway. My reason for supporting Earth Hour can be summed up in one word. Community. Let me tell you a story. The first Earth Hour we participated in, 5 years ago now, was the first or second year the event took place. We only heard about it a couple of hours before, so we thought ‘why not’; switched off the mains and turned off all our phones, etc. Shared our evening meal in candle-light and talked. And something magical happened. It was as if peace had descended on our family… we talked in a depth never usually experienced in the evenings, while at the same time relaxing. We laughed, and shared as a communal unit. Even my senile grandfather, who was usually out of his tree started joining in and talking and laughing with us – and more or less coherently too. Even when the lights came back on, we went to bed earlier and slept better for it. Watching others on the news the next day, I believe our experiences to be typical: seeing images of people in Australian parks in the evening sharing candle-lit picnics with total strangers while laughing and talking… and the same in many public (and one presumes, private) places. How often do you see that these days?
So irrespective of whether or not it has any effect on the electricity grids (and the Australian grid reported a 10% drop in demand), it is having a huge benefit by boosting our capital. Not of money, or resources, but of community, happiness, and inclusiveness. Even if the world was on 100% renewable energy tomorrow, if Earth Hour happened, that same community united in connection would happen. You could argue that it is a group meditation as people participate. You could say it is like praying as a group. Whatever you call it, do it. And doing it with a group purpose in mind, namely turning our attention to looking after our planetary home, is surely a noble cause. And a great way of turning our attention to such issues; united in community we can tackle any problem or challenge. It is the best attribute of our humanity.
This is really what the spirit of Cae Non is about… every time we gather in the Hafod after a hard day’s work, and eat our meal in candle-light, talking, laughing and listening to the crackling of the stove and the singing-purr of the kettle, we are creating that same energy and community on a smaller scale. So, why not join us in that spirit at 8:30PM for Earth Hour? Gather in your family group, or as a group of friends, put out the lights and switch off your appliances (especially phones and computers!), light a candle, and share a meal or a few drinks. You may just be surprised how rich an experience it is.
And if you’re the stingiest, most pessimistic capitalist, try it anyway. You might be surprised on the effect it has on you… you will have gained an amount of an additional type of capital, the value of which may surprise you.