One Hour On Earth

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Last night, here in France, we both lost and gained an hour.  Lost because we finally passed to l’heure d’été, daylight savings time, an event that normally involves an hour of one’s life being lost until the autumn time change rolls around.  But in this case we also gained precious time by observing Earth Hour,  just us and a few million other people on the planet, apart and together, in the semi-darkness.  Gaining nothing tangible but a sense of hope for the future, and a feeling of holding hands around the world, which is gaining most of what’s worthwhile in life, when you think about it.

I’m not going to wade into the raging polemic on whether Earth Hour is just a lot of commie pinko enviro radicalist hyped encroachment of marketing into the hard cold reality of energy development and profit to the military industrial complex, or just a waste of good candles.  Nope, I’m not touching that for a nanosecond. 

What I do want to say is hats off to those folks who are in  Bonn today negotiating an international climate change treaty, a few of whom used to be my colleagues.  Hats off to those big countries that are making a serious commitment to change.  Hats off to those little countries that are speaking up for their right to have what the rest of us take for granted.  And a toast to those of you that were with us in darkness last night, expressing in the simplest possible way our collective hope for a planet that’s safe for our grandchildren.

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If we reduce electricity use and the lights go out and you can’t see your supper, will you still enjoy it?  But then, how easy is it to enjoy an Indian meal by candlelight, knowing that what’s on your plate would feed an Indian family of four, although they would have probably had to cook it over dried cow dung?

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If the glaciers melt and the pastures dry up, will there still be great French cheese?  If temperatures rise as predicted in Portugal, will you still be able to have a glass of Port with your dessert?

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If Mother Earth gives us the spanking we well and truly deserve, will we still feel like singing?

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7 Comments on “One Hour On Earth”

  1. Barbara Lee Says:

    Sweet and poetic, I guess, well-intentioned but sophomoric. I came for the food. (You don’t see Al Gore down at the river, beating his clothes clean on a rock. Too busy lighting every room in his oversized homes and apartments, or flying the planet spewing pollution from his private jet).

  2. John Sconzo Says:

    Great sentiments and post, Abra. It is a reminder that even in a small way, we all do our part and contribute not just to the cycle of global warming, but also to breaking or slowing down that cycle.

    We too took part in this while having guests over for dinner. While sharing solidarity with the better part of the world, it was also fun!

    BTW, cow dung happens to be an excellent cooking fuel source and is the choice of many an Indian who can afford alternatives. One of the reasons the cow is considered sacred to the Hindus is because cows provide so much, such as their milk and most importantly, their dung, which in addition to its culinary use, is also used for heating homes.

    In any case, thanks again for such a thoughtful post!


  3. Symbolic gesture, yes. But, if it makes any one of us think a little more about how we use our resources than it goes beyond the symbolic.
    Every teeny tiny bit helps.

  4. Rebecca Says:

    In our home spend one day each week not using any electricity, and it does make one mindful of the energy that we normally use daily.

  5. Henry Says:

    soph·o·mor·ic
    Pronunciation:
    \ˌsäf-ˈmȯr-ik, -ˈmär- also ˌsȯf- or ˌsä-fə- or ˌsȯ-fə-\
    Function:
    adjective
    Date:
    1813
    1 : conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature

    No better word to define Barbara Lee’s comment.

  6. Debbie Says:

    Just found your site – the photos are lovely and I look forward to following along. I have a home in the South of France and my on-going story is at http://www.afrenchlife.com.

  7. Debbie Says:

    In LA there is a restaurant that offers a unique dining experience – completely in the dark. I have not yet been there but have heard a variety of remarks from others who have. Most say they will not go again. I think that sends a message that if we are not blind now then we are not willing to adapt to it. We are blessed to have electricity and solar panels!


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