When The Lights Go On Again .. All Over The World

The Acropolis in Athens will be the world’s oldest landmark to turn off its lights for Earth Hour on Saturday, March 28, as part of the global movement to fight climate change.

Over 800 other landmarks around the world that will participate in the initiative, including the Sphinx and Great Pyramids of Giza, the Empire State Building in New York, Big Ben, the London Eye and the Wembley Stadium Arch in London, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Sydney Opera House and the Gaudi Building in Barcelona.

This Saturday 28 March at 8.30PM you can vote EARTH by switching off your lights for one hour – Earth Hour.  The organisers suggest a number of ways you can spread the word.  Just turn off your lights for Earth Hour, and thus record your vote.  Then share it with the world! Here’s how:

  • Take a PHOTO on the night, upload it to flickr and add it to Earth Hour’s flickr group and tag it with your city and country.
  • Make a VIDEO of your event, upload it to YouTube and add it to our YouTube group.
  • Write a LIVE BLOG POST during the event and tag it with earthhour or voteearth, and your location.
  • Update your TWITTER on the night and write #earthhour or #voteearth and your #location in your update to tag it.

Who could quibble at this demonstration of concern for the Earth.  Well George Marshall is not too happy. He feels that turning out the lights plays into the hands of the critics of the movement. 

Darkness evokes feelings of danger, decay and death.  So it is hard to think of any image more destructive to our cause than turning off lights. The metaphors of darkness are overwhelmingly negative: danger, decay, and death. We see the dark ages as a time of brutality. Poets such as Dylan Thomas call on us to “rage against the dying of the light”. Sir Edward Grey on the eve of the first world war said “the lamps are going out all over Europe”. Really the cultural resonance could hardly be worse.

The overwhelming need at the moment is to inspire ordinary people with a vision of a better world, to make them feel that action on climate change is utterly desirable and positive.

I think he is overreacting a bit, since after the earthhour the lights will come on again .. all over the world.   Some will remember that as a song by Vera Lynn.

It was a song of hope looking forward to the end of World War 2 and the Blackout, and soldiers returning home.  Those born later will not fully understand the way the War affected everything.  Many many lives of loved ones were lost or damaged.

There is now a show, When The Lights Go On Again, by Roy Sault, that tells the story of family life in England during the war years, culminating in a VE / VJ day party.

The audience can laugh and cry and join the family on their way through some difficult times and some fun times. It shows the humour that saw the nation through those dark years. School Concerts, Rationing, The Saturday Night Dance, ARP Wardens, Air Raids, Queues and Spam all get a look in.

That is the way to look at things.  Lights may go out in a show of solidarity, but the lights will go on again.  As they do, perhaps that can be a message of hope that we are taking the problems of our environment seriously.

Footnote: February 15, 2009 – Dame Vera Lynn pens her memoirs at the age of 92

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