We are observing Earth Hour tonight, but adjusted it a bit. We started early – at 6:30 – as starting at 8pm would have had no impact whatsoever on the slumbering darlings we wish to teach about being stewards of the earth.
With no computers to lure an adult away, we spent half an hour together in the sun room, being goofy and chatting happily, engaged in such activities as Watching Lyle Put on a Ballet/Tap Dance Show and – always a crowd pleaser – Creating Harry Potter Characters and Artifacts Out of Silly Putty with Baxter. For the next half hour we took to our respective couches and each of us read to one of the kids.
I was struck by the way that the natural darkening of the night sky through our windows brought on a gradual calm in us all. No sudden, “Okay, it’s bedtime!” call tonight. When it was too dark to read, no one questioned that it was time to head off to sleep. We lit a big candle by which the boys brushed their teeth, and off they went. A very relaxing evening.
We have kept the lights and electronics off well into the official 8-9 pm time period. Feeling a little guilty about going to a fully lit establishment at 8:30, I left the house in search of the Starbucks down the block due to the fact that I am far too behind on work to even think of doing anything else, and Matt’s having some friends over tonight to watch a movie and drink White Russians. And whatever else a bunch of hip dads do. (I’m picturing some of them walking in not knowing about Earth Hour and feeling a bit awkward about the romantic, candlelit atmosphere Matt has prepared for them.)
But do you know what I love about my neighborhood? Even the Starbucks employees are supporting Earth Hour. I’m guessing that there are certain corporate non-negotiables around here, like the background music that is probably required by the higher-ups to set that Saturday night coffee shop vibe. But it’s almost pitch-dark in here, with precious few under-cabinet lights on – just enough for them to make drinks by.
So here I sit in the near dark with my laptop running on battery power, looking out at busy Sheridan Road with so very few windows lit in the big apartment buildings, and I think, we really can do this.
We can, can’t we? If we made this effort more often? On a regular basis? Nightly, even? Each of us. It’s not that hard.
I mean, really: if Starbucks can turn down the lights and still bring in a full house, can’t we all do more?