Thoughts about Earth Hour

My wife and I are fans of Earth Hour, which happened last Saturday. Earth Hour is a grass-roots movement that promotes awareness about the degradation of the environment by encouraging people to turn off all their lights for one hour–all simultaneously (depending on your time zone). People need to know about the toll that our energy consumption is taking on the planet.

That being said, I struggle with Earth Hour. After all, it’s just ONE hour out of the entire year. In order for our degradation of the earth to subside, much, much more is needed. I struggle when I see the same people who promote Earth Hour toss aluminum cans into the trash because the recycling bin is in another building or on another floor. I struggle when those who turn off their lights for one hour leave their SUVs running while they scrape the ice off the windshield. If we’re going to save the planet, our deeper life habits must change. We have to become less dependant on fossil fuels–that means investing money in clean energry. And yes, being green (I mean authentically caring of the planet–not simply being “green” because it’s in style now) means making sacrifices. It means spending more money for organic foods; it means walking or riding your bike instead of driving your car. It means being conscious about the power you use in your home. And I believe such life habits should start in childhood. As children see their parents, siblings, and other caregivers caring for the planet by walking, being vegetarian, and turning off unnecessary lights and appliances, then they are more likely to pick up these habits and integrate them into their daily practices.

Let’s stop being “green,” and let’s start to change our habits. To quote a poster I made in elementary school: “Save our planet. It’s the only one we’ve got.” And let’s not be foolish enough to think that it’s actually our planet…

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