The Real Green: Earth Hour (Remember that?)

For some reason, Earth Hour was really special to me when I first heard about it (in early 2008). It made me feel like my efforts at green activism were part of a much bigger force – and to anyone who participates in any kind of activism, you know it’s all about knowing your work is serving the whole.

The funny thing was that none of my local friends or relatives, green as most of them were, had any interest in this event. Most of them thought it was inconvenient or just plain silly. However, I was blessed that they played along and would meet with me at the designated hour and play board games with me by lantern light.

Around 2009/2010, one of the big green bloggers wrote a post about Earth Hour and her negative feelings about it and those who stopped to comment had some pretty strong responses. Many of them thought the whole thing was a stupid marketing ploy, that it was a useless awareness tactic, that they were greener all year long than one stupid annual effort to use less electricity. Etc., etc., etc.

I was so disheartened by this, as Earth Hour was literally kinda a holiday to me. I would anticipate its arrival, follow the website countdown, promote it on social media, try to think of plans for how I’d celebrate (board games again or an in-the-dark picnic?). I was like a kid at Christmas and here were all these people shredding a well-intentioned event that might actually help inspire others to do better in the green department. It was very disheartening, at the time.

In 2010, when preparing for my first Earth Hour in my new home with Former Boyfriend, he told me he thought  the whole idea was the stupidest thing he’d ever heard. (He wasn’t really into the whole green thing, but in general, was pretty agreeable about playing along.) When I told him it was really important to me to observe the hour in the dark, he said, “That’s fine, but I’ll be at my friend’s house.”

I spent that evening alone, and for some reason, it was one of the longest hours of my life. I alternated between reading, meditating and looking out the window at all the lights on up and down the street. I felt so stupid, so ineffective, finally understanding some of what those commenters had said: It suddenly seemed like such a waste of time.

Last weekend, I saw a few posts about Earth Hour on Facebook and I was shocked – I realized I haven’t observed it or paid attention to it since that fateful night in 2010. And did I do it this year? No.

I think this is one of those things that has permanently fallen by the wayside. As idealistic as I was about it (at one time), it lost its meaning somewhere along the line. There’s something about it that just doesn’t feel like a “fit” to me.

Although I have to admit, I feel guilty whenever it comes around each year. It still feels like a well-intentioned event and that it’s trying so hard to send a message that needs to be heard. And yet…as I once heard someone say, “I have bigger mercury-tainted fish to fry.”

This is not meant as any commentary on the event, itself, by the way. If anyone reading this feels a special love for this event and has even close to the same excitement and idealism I once had for it – bless your heart and turn those lights out! This post is simply to share the reality of my green journey, thus far.