Darkness has either been an escape for us to shed silent tears or it has been an unwanted guest in the form of power cuts that would topple our well-laid plans with a snap. But at this ‘Earth Hour’ between 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm on March 27, when the lights would be switched off, we need to invite darkness in our countries, cities, towns, societies, lanes, courtyards, office desks, and drawing rooms with a special prayer.
It is ironical but we are actually depending on darkness for light. Our planet needs deep sleep, relaxation and refuge in darkness after suffering through long years of havoc, animosity and poisoning brought about by her offspring. Her weather conditions have become wayward and appalling – freezing winter, atrocious autumn, scorching summer and unruly monsoon. The eco-system has gone topsy-turvy.
Serene rivers are changing their courses and running amok. Animals are dying, several species of birds are extinct, resources exhausting, vegetations receding and the lush-green planet is going bald - this indicates that the power that held everything together is weakening by the day.
And when our planet needs nothing less than an ICU, we are holding ‘talks’ on ‘Climate Change’ and even worse, our talks are failing.
But ‘Earth Hour 2010’, a global event organized by WWF to raise awareness towards the need to take action against climate change, may make a difference if we are willing to ‘switch off the lights’ – both literally as well as metaphorically. We do not just need to switch off lights for our ailing planet, but also switch off our irresponsibility and carelessness.
Most of us know that the leaking tap in the bathroom is wasting away our invaluable natural resource and we have been misusing electricity. We never switch off the ignition of our cars during traffic jams or at traffic signals to save oil; and we rarely ever try to save paper or plant trees or limit our wants.
From time to time, the little thing called conscience has tugged at our heart to be conscious while wasting away our natural resources, but our lust and ‘who cares a hoot’ attitude has brutally suppressed the inner voice.
All is not lost still; hope remains if we act now! At the appointed hour, let’s make darkness stay with us for a while to remind us if we are not cautious now, a time may come when there will be no hope of light after the all enveloping darkness. It is essential that we make ‘darkness’ our voice to appeal for creating a sustainable low carbon future for our planet and lead the way towards a sustainable future.
Earth Hour 2010 is expected to be the largest Earth Hour yet, with a long list of icons and landmarks like Eiffel Tower and Leaning Tower of Pisa turning off their non-essential lights to show solidarity. Underscoring the significance of Earth Hour, Andy Ridley, Earth Hour’s executive director and co-founder, said, “Earth Hour demonstrates the determination of the world’s citizens for a better healthier world. It brings together cities, communities, businesses and individuals on the journey to positive action on climate change.”
“Earth Hour is an opportunity for the global community to speak in one voice on the issue of climate change, while at the same time coming together in celebration of the one thing every single person on the planet has in common – the planet.”
More than the efforts of the global community, it is an individual’s care and dedication that may bring life back into Earth. So, no matter where we are or whatever our profession is, at this time of the day, let’s not forget to keep our date with darkness. We may join our neighbours in the park or host a head-bangers party with friends, or enjoy an hour off with office colleagues or just sit idle and watch the city lights go dark, but we need to feel and understand darkness to ‘switch on’ our planet’s light.
And hopefully, our next ‘date with darkness’ will be quite soon after the ‘Earth Hour’ and repeatedly after that, because hopefully, we will fall in love with the ‘cause’ behind the voluntary darkness.
<i>In March 2009, Indians along with hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off lights to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative. May the Earth Hour 2010 turn out to be even more successful!</i>