Why Earth Hour is Still Relevant to Me

Earth Hour has come and gone on the East Coast of the USA.  I believe this is my sixth year participating.  I remember the first year my husband (then fiance) and I took part.  We turned all the lights off and went for a lovely evening stroll.  This year, although things are warming up, it’s a bit nippy out at night.  We turned everything off, including our phones, and enjoyed some time together.  We only lit enough candles to safely move around the first floor: one in the living room, one in the kitchen, and one in the bathroom.  We then lit one on the altar and did a devotional.  It just feels right for us to use this time to honor the Earth Mother and Nature Spirits in ritual.  We did a short meditation and spent a few moments enjoying the stillness.  Well, the stillness available to us with a very active baby!

A few people I know commented that they don’t understand Earth Hour.  They feel it is irrelevant, silly, or some such.  And that’s fine.  Not everyone will find it meaningful.  But my husband and I do.  I still believe that it’s an important way to make a stand, albeit merely a symbolic one.  Does it accomplish much in terms of actually saving energy?  In the grand scheme, no.  We still drove our gas-powered car to get groceries today, turned our computers back on after, etc.  But putting that hour aside each year is symbolic.  It is my way of saying that I still believe in the message.  It is my way of saying that I’m willing to make little sacrifices.  Every year, we make another change, take another baby step*.  Earth Hour is a good time to stop and contemplate that.

My husband and I also find a lot of value in setting aside that time to get away from our technology.  It’s when we can turn off, tune out, and reflect.  When I was working through Ian Corrigan’s Nine Moons studies, I set aside a day each week as a retreat from social networking and watching shows.  It was wonderful but didn’t last that long.  Sometimes it does feel like we’re all addicted to this technology.  Even when we aren’t on the computer, it might be on in another room.  The cellphone is on and people can reach you any time.  There’s a pressure to get back to people right away!  There’s an inkling to look, just to see, and make sure nobody said anything to you, to see what others are doing, to check the weather, to check the news, to check this and that…  And when you’re unable to do it at home, most of us are online at our jobs, using the internet to manage, plan, translate, collaborate, synthesize, publish, etc… When we leave our homes to socialize with family and friends, so many find it acceptable to somehow simultaneously use their smartphones to “multitask”**.

Earth Hour gives you an excuse to be in the moment.  Sure, we can do that at any time, but sometimes we really need an excuse for ourselves.  When we aren’t doing those things we feel we should, we can get antsy, even guilty.  It feels good to turn everything off and sit in the dark.  I should make a point to do it more often!

After our ritual, we played hangman by candlelight at the kitchen table.  We giggled and had a genuinely wonderful time.  When the hour was up and we turned the living room light back on, I thought about how lucky we are to even have that ability…

For more on why Earth Hour is still relevant, see this great post.

*This year, it’s all about reusable diapers and, for the last few months, reusable wipes!
** I’m so glad we went back to “dumbphones.”  I feel like I live more in the moment when we are out.  And really, it’s so very annoying to hang out with people and have them whip out their phones to play games or whatever.  Did I do that?  Gosh… I was so rude!

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

8 thoughts on “Why Earth Hour is Still Relevant to Me

  1. We (normally) do Earth Hour (though we didn’t this year for a number of reasons that mostly have to do with not being home!), but we also do our own “Earth Hour” (more like an earth evening) on at least a monthly basis (sometimes twice). We start after dinner is made and eat by candle and lantern light and continue through the evening until bed time…usually a Sunday evening, as a time to wind down before the hectic week begins. It is quite a lovely way to reconnect with one another and to reevaluate our connectedness via technology vs actual personal contact.

    1. Oh, it’s very hard to observe when you’re away! A few years ago, we were in Niagara Falls during Earth Hour. We decided to leave our hotel room and take a walk to the waterfalls to see them unlit. It was interesting because, even though we had turned everything off in our hotel room, businesses all around were lit up. We’d never done it in a city before. We reached the falls towards the end and watched them light back up again. It was different but beautiful all the same.

      I really love your regular “Earth Hour” rituals. I will talk to my husband about doing it once a month at least. I think it would be fun to have a day off the computers. No video games, no FB, no forums, no Netflix.

  2. I think that dedicated time makes us more aware of what we’re doing normally, and its only by becoming conscious of what we do that we can make changes. It’s well worth doing Earth Hour, I think.

    1. I so agree, Nimue! Thank you for your comment. I hope there will come a day when such connection is usual, but for now, I need the reminder to stop and reflect.

  3. I never heard of Earth Hour until now. I think its something I would like to do. Turn everything off, escape from the technology that has me so addicted. I like doing that at night before bed. Going to my bedroom, shutting the door, charging my cellphone but keep it face down so I can’t see who calls, texts or messages me on FB. I pull out a book and read, sometimes by candlelight and it is a wonderful escape.

    It’s so wonderful that your husband is so supporting of your beliefs. I think Paul would take a more active role and be supportive too, if he was here.

    1. I love reading a book before bed. That’s how I did most of my reading before Bee. Because we bed share, she is right with me and grabs *everything,* so I’ve started to look at my phone more before bed. I recently downloaded more to my Kindle so I’d like to use that more to actually read something useful! LOL

      My husband has always been supportive of my believes, but it’s taken him awhile to take a more active role. It means a lot to me. 🙂

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