I’m sorry, but I did not participate in Earth Hour. OK, I did, but I did so anachronistically. That means I did turn off my lights for an hour, but I did it around 10pm. But wait! I have an excuse.
So I get home from the 2nd Filipino Freethinker Forum at the Ateneo de Manila Katipunan campus, and I start getting ready for an hour of darkness. I setup my equipment for me to watch the last two Battlestar Galactica episodes. I tidy up a bit, so I don’t trip over anything in the dark, and, just for good measure, I empty my trash bins. Then I go to wash my hands, and my taps are dry. WTF?
I go downstairs to ask the building security guard — who also doubles as information desk personnel and doorman — what was up. A couple of other apartment residents are there too, asking each other why there is no water. The guard is nowhere to be found, and after a couple more minutes, more residents show up and we all start talking about what the problem could be. Someone says that according to the news, all of Mandaluyong is going to have no water due to maintenance. Another demands why we weren’t notified. When the guard finally show up, he has no idea why the taps are dry, because the other building in the compound has no water problems.
One of the residents wonders why this has to happen at the time when the lights were all going to go out at 8.30. Someone explains to him that Earth Hour was voluntary, and one can switch off one’s lights only if one wants to.
After a while, a resident joins us in the lobby and says he checked the water tank, and the problem is now fixed. The resident of the apartment nearest the lobby goes and checks, and the water is slightly rusty but that will clear in a while.
So I go back to my apartment and check my taps, turning on the water in the bathroom and kitchen until the rusty water is all run out. After I am done, it is at that point that not only did I not turn off the lights on time, but I completely forget about Earth Hour.
That, gentle readers, is why I had Earth Hour at 10pm.
Still, I’m glad the campaign was a success. Not only did people voluntarily turn off their lights at home, but according to news reports and what one of my friends told me, even billboard lights were turned off, so you could see the effect even on the street.
Yes, you Scrooges, turning off our lights for an hour will not really make a dent in our energy consumption in the long run. That’s not the point. The point is spreading awareness about the consequences of our energy consumption. Also, it’s kinda fun, and makes you feel a great oneness with people across the globe.