Would you like to be part of something special this Saturday, 31st of March, at 8.30pm? It’s irrelevant what part of the world you live in, as long as you switch off your lights and light up your candles. It could not be easier.
Earth Hour is a global event organized by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and is held every year on the last Saturday of March. Households and businesses are invited to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. Some of you might think: “Did we need another climate change related event? How switching a few lights off for an hour is going to do something good
for the planet?”
The answer to the first question is yes. Period. As for switching the lights off, the point is not to save electricity for an hour. The objective of the event is to keep raising the awareness on the impact human activities are having on our planet and on the responsibility each one of us has. Yes, each one, including you and me.
When we get into climate change people are often uncomfortable because they don’t want to be hypocrites. But, we’re all hypocrites. We’re all part of the problem. But we’re also in this complicated system which needs to change. You can’t be too hard on yourself. You have to start somewhere. Each one of us has the responsibility to try to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. But how do we do that?
One baby step in trying to learn more about this sick system we live in which is ruining the planet and that it’s making us sick too, it’s to try and understand more about it, starting from all the stuff that surround us: raw materials extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal. It’s overwhelming when you think about it. The good news is there is an amazing woman who has done a lot of work. Have you ever heard of “The Story of Stuff”? Watch this short movie.
She also wrote a book about it to share it with us. Her name is Annie Leonard and the title of her book is “The Story of Stuff”. If you wish to start doing your own homework and start living an examined life, this is a great point to start from.
Although I am pessimistic about the future of the human race, I believe that there is still a
lot we can all do to (or at least try to) make our planet a better place for us and for the one or two generations to come. This is why I support organisations like WWF. One of the several areas it focuses on is to show that the damage inflicted on the wild over the past century can be repaired, that the land can be conserved on a sustainable basis for the human, animal and plant communities which share it.
When we try to pick out anything by itself we find it hitched to everything else in
the universe – John Muir
Do you know who John Muir was? He was a visionary man who, towards the end of the nineteenth century had already understood that the human race wasn’t going in the right direction.
When I started reading his books, John Muir instantly became a major source of inspiration in my life. His accounts of the years spent wandering in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada in California are clear, filled with delightful descriptions of that mountain
environment and full of prophetic wisdom. Avid mountaineer, explorer, naturalist, ecologist (although in his days the word ecology hadn’t been invented), writer, John Muir developed such a deep, spiritual connection with the natural world that led him to understand that all species are connected and as he puts it, “hitched together”. He was the first one who yearned for people to love and respect the wilderness and to call for practical action to safeguard and cherish the world’s wild places. He believed that the spiritual qualities of wilderness, of tranquility and solitude, had to be preserved as a legacy for those to come.
Although he is not very well known in Europe, he is rightly regarded as one of the fathers of the modern conservation movement and his name is a source of inspiration for naturalists, ecologists and whoever has a strong interest and appreciation of the natural world. Only recently he is being honored in Scotland, his native land.
John Muir was largely responsible for inspiring the American people and alerting them to the possible loss of the wilderness areas and through his petitioning of Congress, for the
setting up in 1890 of the Sequoia National Park and the Yosemite National Park,
which cover roughly a quarter of a million square miles.
I hope this article will inspire you to do your bit for the environment (just in case you are not already doing it), switch off your lights more often and have a lovely candlelight dinner instead.