I had a modest goal for Earth Hour. As my pupils cosied up to a flickering candle, I began my Earth Hour ready to speed-read all of Ghandi’s autobiography. 528 pages in 60 minutes. An inspirational moment requires inspirational reading. But when I scanned my street Saturday night, dozens of hamsters were asleep at the wheel. Their damn windows were lighting up the block. After screaming “Bloody Virtue,” I took stock of the situation. Was I expecting too much?
Can I expect every individual to give up important rituals like Hockey Night in Canada, web-surfing or microwaving a piece of bread for an entire hour? That’s a helluva long time. It’s unrealistic. It’s also unfair. Maybe someone had a good reason to microwave their bread. Perhaps it was a granny who lived through the war, going years without any creature comforts and now the microwave is all that keeps her from deep sadness. But I don’t want to save the planet alone. Earth Hour is about being united. I want to do it together. If I’m doing this alone I’d only want to brag and bragging is not my style. I’ve never bragged, ever. Okay, only six times.
So I decided I was not going to read all of Ghandi’s autobiography. I was now going to read every other page. It was an awesome decision. I felt like one of the gang. I then skipped two pages at a time, then every three pages and as Ghandi’s journey became incoherent, I read every fifteenth page, leap-frogging to the end. I was done in 20 minutes (Solar-powered watch by candlelight). I smiled. I gazed into the flame of my still flickering candle, wax dripping down. Oh no! What would I do for the rest of Earth Hour? Reading was out, the last book I read was a drag. And then I remembered that one earth hour is only twenty minutes on Jupiter. Technically, I wasn’t on Jupiter but:
twenty Jupiter minutes = 1 Earth Hour,
all things being equal I had done my time
Einstein would agree that time is relative. So I turned on all my lights, microwaved some bread and went outside to join the party.