The criticisms of Earth Hour are quite scathing and I generally agree with many of them. Still, might as well try to do something. Despite the slacktivistic nature of Earth Hour, choosing to observe it in a genuine fashion can be difficult within even the most progressive communities, and thus, damn near impossible in a location like Fort St. John.
I estimate I managed a 12% participation rate this year. I was late getting back from the gym and spent the first 14 minutes basked in fluorescent warehouse lights. Walking back home I briefly had my kitchen lights on for 2-3 minutes as I ate some yogurt. Not a believer in candles (probably worse that using electricity as a light source) I was relegated to a walk up the main drag of 100th Street, bathed in the ubiquitous sodium-vapour street light. Cars everywhere, I was not the least bit surprised that I was the only person on the sidewalk for the entire stretch of downtown. Score one for the planet and a lively downtown. At 100th & 105th I was stared down by a parked RCMP cruiser. As the only visible pedestrian it was clearly obvious I was either up to no good, too poor to drive or had lost my license due to alcohol related charges. Possibly all three.
Only 9:00pm. At this point I didn’t care anymore. Nothing non-alchohol related is open in Fort St. John past 7:00pm, unless one counts Tim Hortons. 9:12…walking back home with a disposable medium decaffeinated roll-up-the-rim-to-win coffee. I won a donut.
However, this is what I did do…and probably is way more useful than a mere hour of ‘lights out’. I replaced all the bulbs in my rental apartment with compact fluorescents and changed my shower head to an ultra-low flow variety.
Maybe a win.