Next week, Saturday, 27 March 2010, is it that time of year again, when we all can do a small thing for the planet we live on.
Earth hour started in 2007, when Sydney residents and businesses decided to something for the environment by switching off the lights for just 60 minutes. I do not think that they had any idea that it would be such a success, when 2.2 million homes and businesses reached for the light switch.
In 2009, 50 million switched off, and this dark hour had reached 35 countries. This year, the aim is for 1 billion residences and businesses will be in the dark.
Why not invite friends or family over for a candle-light dinner? Not only do you switch of your light in this manner, but your friend's or family's too.
It really is amazing the light you get from candles, oil lamps or storm lamps. As long as you keep the inside of the glass clean, you should have no trouble.
For Ireland, Friends of the Irish Environment are coordinating everything here.
And The Irish Times Earth hour magazine, available as download, and both are listing all kind of activities for young and old, including pub, quizzes, to star/comet gazing in the park.
If you are not in Ireland, you can find your national ngo, which is coordinating Earth hour 2010 in your own country via the WWF Earth hour 2010 webpage.
Last year, during Earth Hour, approximately 50 megawatts was saved here in Ireland, which accounts for about 1.5% of the total demand.
So why not take part in this global 60 minute switch off. and help the WWF reach the target of 1 billion buildings, which will stay dark for 60 minutes.
In the last 27 years we would have many days or evenings when the light switched off suddenly for an uncertain time. Power-cuts were a regular occurrance, and I've cooked many a meal by candle, or oil lamp-light. and written lots with these light sources. Sometimes it would last less than an hour, but those were exceptions usually. I remember that over Christmas 1998, West Cork suffered a very long period of black-outs. We, here in the west, were lucky; it lasted only 3 days. And on Christmas Day, we had to be one of the few households cooking on gas. (butane cylinders, as mains gas doesn't come this far west)
In short, many turkeys didn't get cooked that day. And I too, have an electric oven these days, but I'm still cooking on those gas bottles.
I still work (on my laptop) by candle-light sometimes in the early mornings. I like the light it gives and the atmosphere it creates.
In the last few years, a power cut is an exception really. Mind you, every storm or strong wind, still makes me anxious and looking at the light automatically. I think this is because Ireland is one of the few countries left with electricity cables above-ground.