Coincidentally, Earth hour fell on my birthday this year and thankfully gave me a reason to get excited about it instead of that creeping dread I had been experiencing.
As it turned out, since it was my birthday, my dear husband, Roy, was taking care of the house, the kids, dinner, baking me a cake from scratch and even washing dishes, we hadn't eaten dinner before 8pm! So we had a candlelit dinner with the whole family. We talked and told stories and we ate really well too because we were all darned near starving.
We have family meals every night, but this one was a little different. With the glow of the candles and no background noises from televisions or radios or humming computers, we just enjoyed each other. We lingered in the glow of the candles. Had some extremely delicious carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting of course) and took a couple pictures of our night. No one asked to be excused. With no computer to run off to, or tv to return to...who would want to leave a table laden with candles and scrumptious home-made carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting of course.)
We've decided that candle-lit dinners will be a nice change of pace, so we're going to do them regularly. Life slowed down for an hour. We payed attention a little better for an hour. We listened a little better.
And every single one of us noted just how many things we had to turn off to plunge our home into darkness. It was a lot, actually. Nearly every light in the basement. Nearly every light on the main floor. Two computers. Two televisions. Clocks and the microwave.
We took a look outside and only one other house was completely dark. That was a tad disappointing, though our city did participate. The Standard reports that electricity usage was 9.2% lower than an average Saturday night in March for St. Catharines. I think that's significant, considering how many houses I could see ablaze. Good job, St. Kitt's. Let's see how we do next year.
Change begins with one, though, right? One change I think is appropriate in this case. If we could make one change...it could start a domino effect of singular changes for individuals around the world. When you add that all up...that's a difference.
Sure, one hour one night a year of darkness isn't going to halt whatever path we're on now. Noticing one's own unnecessary waste is the first step in reducing it.
As a bonus, it was an enjoyable time in this household. I doubt the kids will forget it. Should it become a weekly tradition, I know they never will.
Coming up next....all that yummy stuff I've been teasing you with for the past several days.
And maybe soon I'll share Roy's carrot cake recipe with you. It's delicious. And you know what, he doesn't even like carrot cake. But I love it! And I haven't made one in at least 10 years. (Go ahead, guess how long we've been married.)
Everybody turn out their lights!
Tonight from 8pm to 9pm people all over the world will be turning out all their lights. I hope you will be, too.
Tonight we're going to unplug all passive power consuming appliances as well, and no, we're not going to just sit and watch tv in the dark. We're going to light some candles if they're needed and play games at the dining room table. I expect this will be fun for everyone.
If tonight's a success, we're going to do it once a week. Every Saturday we'll shut out the lights and disconnect the passive power suckers (microwave, clocks, computers, but not refrigerator & freezer) and have real, honest family time (i.e., not tv time.) I suspect we'll not only reduce our consumption and raise our awareness but also strengthen those bonds that can be weakened by hectic schedules and the busy-ness of day-to-day life.
I've already heard a few people comment that global warming is a sham. Interestingly, all the people who say this to me are American. The thing is, global warming itself is a fact. The debate is whether humans have caused it. It kills me that people are so willing to grab onto the tiniest tidbit that sounds best to them. They hear bits and snatches or read one opponent's opinion and grab onto it because it's the easiest path for them. It's the path that doesn't require them to do anything.
I understand that methodology. I just wish that people who so willingly and immediately discount humankind's impact on the environment would stop and think it through. So I'm going to ask the Doubting Thomases to read the following and just think about these things:
- What if global warming IS a result of human-created carbon dioxide emissions? (Carbon dioxide emissions come from car exhaust, power generation, rotting garbage, the burning of fossil fuels, and other sources.)
- What if global warming DOES result in the melting of a major ice shelf like the one covering Greenland? (The answer is that the world's water level will go up by 25% and we will lose places like Japan, Greenland, the Netherlands, Florida...4% of the world's land surface will be under water -- places where people now live will be under water.)
Another thing the Doubting Thomases could do is consider humankind's effect on the earth and on their own species' health and well-being. Do we not have enormous amounts of waste, unlike any other species on the planet? Yes, we do. Do our wastes cause ill-health and even death? Yes. We have been killing off other living beings and one another through toxic wastes, destruction of habitat, pollution, chemical pollution. Shouldn't we stop doing things like that just for our own well-being?
I think so.
I know it won't happen overnight. I'm not one of those enviro-nazis, either. I wouldn't think of throwing Molotov cocktails on a car lot full of Hummers to protest their wastefulness. That's just stupid. I simply try to do better. I recycle paper, plastic, glass, organics, and aluminum as well as household goods. I don't use chemicals in my yard or garden and I have eliminated household chemicals almost completely. I try to purchase items that leave the least waste. I'm not always successful. I still have a lot of trash. Hell, I still smoke. (I will be quitting for good this year.) I consciously try to reduce my family's consumption, including energy use. I try. That's all. I just try.
I hope that what's going on with the climate will not result in an ice age. I hope that humankind can reverse what's going on and prevent an ice age. I don't know if we can. I really don't. I do know we have impacted our environment negatively and I want not to do that anymore.
Please post comments and let me know what you're doing for Earth Hour 2008. I'd love to know.
Cats and kittens grace our home regularly. Since we foster them to get them ready for adoption (through the local Animal Assistance Society), we have had the pleasure of caring for nearly 30 different cats and kittens in the past few years.
I thought I'd share some with you.
Our first batch of kittens were the "steel kitties" (in reference to their colouring) who were, coincidentally, rescued from a steel mill. They were very sick when I got them. They had eye issues, upper respiratory infections, and funny poops. They had to be given lots of meds every day, eye ointment and cleaning twice daily, a couple nutritional supplements, and yes, I had to pay attention to their poops. That's right. I think I've seen every make & model of kitty poop in the past few years. As a foster, I got the trial by fire routine. No other kitties have been as needy since. I never minded, though.
We named two of them tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, these two were constant companions. Due to the ongoing brain damage I suffer as a side-effect of long-term parenting, I cannot recall the other three kitty's names.
One day, Tweedle Dee broke one of her legs. I don't know how it happened. She was an awfully curious lil bugger (as you can see above) and I suspect she climbed into the drop ceiling downstairs and then fell from it. It was a nasty break and I thought they were going to euthanise her because the surgery would have been a couple thousand dollars. Instead, they put her in a high cage (so she wouldn't stand to look at her people) and kept her there for a month. She returned to me perfectly healthy but no longer attached to Tweedle Dum. She was adopted within weeks of her return as were all of her siblings.
Can you see Tweedle Dee? (This is post recovery, by the way.)
There she is!
I'll tell you about more of our kitties in future posts.