This year I joined some friends to celebrate Earth Hour with a candle lit dinner. It was a very special evening with remarkable food and wine sourced locally and it gave me a lot to think about.
It reminded me of another night when everyone turned out the lights. That was Fire Cracker Night or Guy Fawkes Night. Everyone turned their lights off to see the fireworks better. I think in a way that the ghost of that night has been transformed into Earth Hour. We love the magic of turing off the lights and the romance of candles or of going outside to look up and contemplate the wonder of the universe above and around us.
The turing off of lights is powerful symbolically. Seeeing huge buildings go dark is an emotional experience. Maybe it's something wired into us or maybe its our expectations built around our experiences of the arts, culture and religion. In the dark we seek catharsis - something that will lift us up above our everyday experiences.
I really like the idea of building a celebration around sustainability. We are physically doing something - saving power in turning off the lights for an hour, or two or four but what that allows us is time to think about the future for a few moments and what the concept of sustainability is all about. Then we have the rest of the year to do something about it and to encourage those we care for to do the same.
It's also delightful to eat cake by candlight, and to enjoy the honeyed scent of candles that are made from the wax of local bees.