Lights Off! My First Earth Hour

photo courtesy of j_boogie

I looked at my watch. 8:50pm. Shit. I only had 10 minutes left till I save the world.

This March 29, more than 10 countries will have participated in an international event where they switch off their lights and appliances in order to bring awareness to climate change. This is called Earth Hour.

There is nothing like a glow of excitement that you are going to do you own little part in saving the world.

By 8pm, I swung over to my friend Tonie’s place and after much cajoling and crying (mostly on her part) I got her to switch off her PC and the lights. Then we settled for a game of Chinese dice with our flashlights and candles.

It’s weird to have a voluntary blackout yet I was excited at what we’re going to without any technology (ok so we were using flashlights but that was it). We’ve grown to be so independent on it that we couldn’t think of anything to do one hour. But actually, we can do so many simple things that mean a lot to us without the use of electricity. Talk to a loved one. Meditate. Go for a walk. Write a poem. Study a language. Learn a new skill.

And for me, that meant origami.

After 15 minutes of suffering from a burnt tongue (loser of the dice game has to eat chilli powder), I was ready to finally make my first paper crane. I was lucky to have Tonie for a patient teacher. I couldn’t tell one end to the next! I folded the wrong side. Made two totally unequal points and folded the wings of my crane the other way so instead of flying forward –mine became the first bird to fly in reverse. And because we wanted to totally use up the remaining 45 minutes (and also, since we couldn’t think of anything else to do), we devoted ourselves to ever so slowly make our paper cranes –folding the paper meticulously so its ends would meet at the perfect angle, making sure the lines were straight, smoothening any creases…. In quiet solitude, we worked on just that one single task, absorbed in our creation. There was no need to multitask like so many do –emailing your pal, opening a folder, printing a report all the while talking to your boss on your mobile phone. There was no need for that.

We moved slowly knowing we had plenty of time. We savored the act on just making a perfect fold, eyebrows furrowed in pregnant concentration. Nothing else mattered. For a few minutes, we were fully alive punctuated by joyous laughter as we unveiled the results of our industrious efforts –hers a perfect Icarus poised in graceful flight, mine a Hephaestus with one working wing and a fully functional wiggable J.lo’s backside.


Then it was 9 pm and somehow with little effort (and swollen tongues) we found we survived.

Lights switched on. The PC whirred. And once again we were sucked back into the static overwhelming world.

And yet for one hour, for one hour we at least lived.


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