Dancing in the Dark

by on Mar.29, 2009, under environment, family, home & stuff

Despite the images this title may conjure (whether you know who Bruce Springsteen is or not), I’m referring to how my family participated in the Earth Hour.  If you are not aware of what Earth Hour is, it is an environmental awareness initiative where anyone who interested in participating would turn off their lights and any non-essential electronics from 8:30 to 9:30 PM on Saturday local time (obviously this time-frame has passed here, but there may be areas where this hasn’t by the time this is read).  We made a slumber party out of it.

We turned off all the lights, we shut down the computers, and we unplugged the TV (you’d be surprised how much wattage a TV draws even when it is off).  We lit some candles.  And we hung out around a large 3-wick candle in the living room chatting and snacking on Cheez-its.  My daughter told revisionist fairy tales while my wife took pictures of the kids in the candlelight and my son tried his best to resist the urge to blow out the candles (he caved a few times before the evening was over – luckily I kept the lighter close by).  After the hour was up, my wife got our girl settled down with a candle as a temporary night-light and I got the little tike into his fire-engine bed for the night.  Eventually, I turned on the fan and crept out while my wife blew out the candle in our daughter’s room and headed to bed herself.

Being the night-owl I am, I’m still up, but headed to bed shortly.  But I have managed not to turn on a light so far except briefly in the bathroom.  I did turn on my laptop though … and I plugged back in the TV to attempt to watch SNL (a rerun with Alec Baldwin – he was good, but the rest was meh).

I generally think of myself as environmentally conscious – I try to save water and energy when I can.  But in truth it is easy to be lax about it.  I’ve had the TV plugged into a power strip so that I could turn it off when it wasn’t in use, but we never seem to actually turn it off.  I replaced most of the bulbs in the house with compact fluorescents, but I still need to be mindful of how many lights I have on – my daughter has a desk lamp that seems to be on 24-7 as I keep forgetting to buy her a new night-light.  And we have had access to a compost bin for months but only got it set up and in use this week.  I guess now is better than never.  I plan to be a bit more mindful of these matters going forward both for the sake of eco-friendliness and financial sense.  I also plan to make sure that my kids understand the importance of such issues as the grow up.  After all, if the human race stands a chance, we need to start adopting smart habits earlier in life rather than spending decades in the dark and only then trying to change tack.

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