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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – March 26

Come on…it’s just one hour. On Saturday March 26th, from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM, you’re invited to turn off all the power you can in your household. This means shutting down lights, computers, kitchen appliances and yes, your television. An hour of darkness during prime time might seem difficult, but it’s not such a hardship. We’re only talking about sixty minutes out of a year of our electronically run lives.

Basically, Earth Hour is one evening in late March when people the world over switch off as much power as possible for sixty minutes. It’s an intentional, instructional and volunteer “rolling black out” so to speak.

Earth Hour was originally conceived and organized by the World Wildlife Fund as a campaign that encouraged people to focus on the power (no pun intended) that we all have to make a difference for the future of our planet. The first Earth Hour was held in Australia in 2007 when 2.2 million people, predominantly in Sydney, turned out their lights for one hour.

The following year it is estimated that over 50 million people participated in more than 35 countries around the world. In 2010 a record 128 countries and territories took part and iconic buildings and landmarks around the world stood in darkness from 8:30 to 9:30 local time.

So what’s in it for you? First of all, it’s a rare occasion when you can unite positively with people around the globe. This simple action of turning out lights and all possible appliances will be repeated by millions of others over a twenty-four hour period. How often do you have the opportunity to join with so many in an international, constructive action? Think of Earth Hour as a rare hands-around-the-world experience.

Secondly, this one day a year is a time to recognize that we can, as individuals and world citizens, take actions needed to move our planet toward sustainability. Of course this one-hour of “switching off” won’t accomplish that goal, but it can trigger more people to think about what we consume and the effect that this has on a global level. It is an acknowledgement that each person’s actions are important, now and in the future.

Personally and immediately, turning off your power is an occasion to quiet your life, if only for sixty minutes. We all automatically fill our homes with lights and sound, and Earth Hour is an opening to rediscover silence and the soothing peace of darkness. It’s a chance to slow down and be free of the busyness that distracts us from quiet grace and each other.

Earth Hour can be a time to connect with our immediate surroundings, the people in our lives and even ourselves. Light some candles, run a bath, share a late meal or sit in darkness and talk to each other. Tell stories, share family histories and remember good times. Meditate, sing, send out prayers for the health of our planet or just go to sleep early. Break with tradition.

Yes, habits are hard to alter, even for one day a year…we tend toward routine behaviors that get comfortable. Changing our ways, even for a brief period asks that we become more thoughtful, inventive and flexible.

Exactly. On Saturday March 26th from 8:30 to 9:30 PM you’re invited to do just that. Learn more at: It’s just one hour, after all.


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