It wasn’t until I was at the top of Mt. Royal that I realized that Earth Hour was more about the 250+ people around me than the number of lights turned off.
Originally published in www.blog.wwf.ca/blog
By Jason Prince
My very first experience with Earth Hour was in Montreal, QC in 2011 while I was a student at McGill University. There, I joined a group that climbed Mont Royal and stood overlooking the downtown core, waiting for the designated hour and expecting to see the lights of the city extinguished.
Jason's view of Montreal during Earth Hour, and when the lights came back on. Photo courtesy of Jason Prince.
When that hour came, I can't deny that I was a little disappointed by the number of lights that remained. At the same time, looking back on the event, there's no doubt that I'm going to get involved again this year, and here's why:
What Earth Hour means, beyond the hour
In my opinion, the number of people that scrambled up the icy path and stood together braving the cold was more important than the number of buildings that turned off their lights. For me, it was this community over 250 strong that made the event meaningful.
I don't think that I'm alone in sometimes feeling powerless to affect the big picture as an individual. Climate change is a perfect example; I recycle and try in my own way to do what I can, but overall don't feel like I have much of an impact.
With Earth Hour though, it seemed like the awareness that I gained of all the people standing around me was almost as important as the awareness we were trying to spread about climate change itself. It reassured me that my actions as an individual are part of something bigger. In that way, Earth Hour was the perfect antidote to my "but I'm only one-person" paralysis.
How I'll participate this year
For this year's Earth Hour I'm showing up with a fresh set of expectations. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing how many lights get turned off, but moreover, I'm also looking forward to seeing the faces and feeling the strength in the connections between the people standing around me, and with me, all across the world.
For me, that's the crux of the event. It's the mutual reinforcement of each individual action. Above and beyond the lights, that's what this event is about: taking some time to recognize and reflect on the power of the climate movement whereby each action is multiplied.
Earth Hour is this Saturday, March 31 at 8:30 pm in every time zone.