Did Our Little Longzhou Join in on Earth Hour?

           Sunday morning had me wondering why the electricity was off. 

            Last year, we had constant 12-hour blocks of electricity outages at this time of year. Rumors had it that new power lines were being placed around the town so that’s why we had such things occur.  All I remember is having to cancel my Easter egg-coloring sessions with some of my classes because in the evenings, we couldn’t see to color the eggs.  That and not being able to use the TV or microwave the entire day.  Plus no hot showers as my water heater runs on electricity.

            This year has seen very few such instances of no-power.

            So it was surprising that for about 1 hour Sunday morning, beginning around 10 a.m., the campus went “dark,” sending everyone outside with nothing better  to do but hang out with one another.

            Little Flower and I likewise left our cozy, warmish apartment to venture out under the chilly, overcast skies.  Walking was better than sitting inside, shivering because our little floor heater couldn’t be turned on.  It’s been a cold week with no sunshine and night temperatures dipping into the high 40s.  Very unusual for southern China, where last year we soared into the 70s and 80s.

            Now on the Net, I find that Earth Hour was in effect just about the same time when our electricity went off.

 World-wide Earth Hour Events

          Earth Hour began in 2007, a movement founded in Sydney, Australia by the global environmental group WWF.  It was meant to show the power of a single act when people came together – a united front, reminding people to commit to an action, large or small, that they will carry on through the year to help the planet.   

            That unified act was turning off your lights for 1 hour.

            According to Earth-hour executive director and co-founder Andy  Ridley, 134 countries or territories took part in the event this year. 

           In China, Hong Kong’s neon waterfront dimmed.  Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Bird’s Nest also went dark for an hour as well.

            The article I read continued detailing further Earth Hour moments.

            Sydney’s Opera House was the first of many global landmarks to go dark as the event got under way.  Hundreds of millions of people prepared to follow suit to enhance awareness of energy use and climate change. The London Eye ferris wheel, Times Square in New York and Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue likewise joined in.

            Moscow  turned off floodlighting on more than 70 buildings and bridges.  In Athens, monuments being darkened included the Acropolis, the parliament building, the presidential palace and the temple of Poseidon near the city. In Italy, more than 200 towns and cities took part. The Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the Tower of Pisa and the Colosseum in Rome all turned off their lights for an hour.  In Argentina, Buenos Aires switched off the spotlight on its landmark Obelisk.  In Paris a minute’s silence was observed for Japan as the city of light went dark, with illuminations switched off at the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame cathedral, City Hall, opera houses and many bridges, fountains and public places.

            Even in Japan, still suffering from the effects of the earthquake and tsunami, Earth Hour was recognized.  Several thousand people and a hotel-turned-evacuation center in the northeast went dark to mark the hour.

 Earth Hour Here or Just a Fluke?

            And then we have our little Longzhou, where our Sunday morning 1-hour matched that of yours going off Saturday evening at the same time.

            Did we knowingly participate in Earth Hour or was it just a fluke that our campus power went out for 60 minutes Sunday morning?  Who can say?  But it did get me to wondering, and reading, and thinking about our excessive use of power in the world and small ways I can help here in China. 

            So fluke or not, at least for one person in Longzhou, some awareness has set in.   Now, I need to make sure to follow through.  

              Ping An (peace) for your day, and don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave the room!

About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 18 years as an English language teacher. 13 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my second year in Guangxi Province at the 3-year college, Guangxi Normal University for Nationalities. The college is located in smalltown longzhou, 1 hour from the Vietnam border.
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