One of my good friend said this to me when she was expecting her first child, "You know, I am so scared about the world I am bringing my baby in. Full of unsatisfied technology freak people. Alive yet so much dead. I wish I had a better place for my child where there was enough greenary, water, tranquility and none of the lifeless herd." I criticized with her about everything around us for a long time oblivious to the fact that even I am a part of such crowd.
"What is that for?", reacted my husband to the shrill sound. It was my Mobile that had suddenly started buzzing while our way back to home from a shopping spree few days later. "Oh! That's an alarm for Earth Hour. It is starting in the next five minutes!", I told him wondering how I am going to be a part of this event that was being observed world wide. For me to participate in such events meant fun. It gave me a high to be an 'informed' and a 'responsible' person. It also gave me some kind of unstated rights to criticize other 'unaware' lot with my friends over a cup of tea. Although Earth Hour started in 2007 world wide but I came to know about it only a week before. They say this event saved thousands of Mega Watts of energy during past three years and 126 countries participated for Earth Hour 2010!!
"Great! We are out so we are actually participating in the event.", chuckled my husband. I called our parents in our hometowns, "Mumma, switch off the lights for next one hour". "What happened? Is everything all right?", she asked frightfully. "Oh nothing to worry", I shrugged aside her doubts and explained to her quickly whatever little I knew about Earth Hour while my father hastily switched off extra lights. When we reached home we celebrated our Earth Hour by switching off all non-essential lights and playing some old forgotten board games. It was fun when we cheated, when we fought like kids over who is winning and when we argued over the rules which were coming back to us like long lost stories. We were enjoying it so much that we exceeded the one hour limit.
After a while we switched ON the lights and it dawned upon me that we can actually 'survive' without most of the lights or electric power. It will not only reduce our electricity bills but also make us truly responsible Earthlings.
The whole process was thought provoking and an eye-opener than just a fun-filled activity. It silently taught me how much spendthrift we are in using natural resources. How casually we use electricity, paper, water and petrol. I realized that Earth Hour is not just an event, it is actually a cause to which we can contribute every day of our life without much effort.
It has now become a part of my reflex actions to switch off the lights as soon as I leave a room. There is no need of artificial light during day time, I rather open the windows and let the fresh air be my guest. And I have learned that putting appliances on stand-by is worthless. It take just seconds to turn them off. Some of us may find the whole concept of Earth Hour as farce and hullabaloo arguing what is the use of just one Hour saving! But do we not understand that Earth Hour is symbolic? It is an attempt to make all of us aware that we should stop taking natural resources for granted. That we should follow Earth Hour every minute and every second of our lives. We may take it as a trigger or let it wither away as just another Awareness Campaign.
Whether or not that one hour of saving electricity was substantial, I know that it did change my perspective. That awareness in all of us in due time can make a significant difference to our future! That I believe is the purpose of Earth Hour. As someone has said, our children have loaned their future to us as our present and we are answerable to them for all our actions and carelessness!