Saving the World by Baring My Bum: Earth Hour 2014

wwf_earth_hour_120x600Earth Hour kicks off in New Zealand in 18 days, 18 hours, and 16 minutes, at least as I write this sentence. Never heard of it? Then you probably live in the United States.

Earth Hour, according to Wikipedia, is “a worldwide grass-roots movement for the planet organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Earth Hour engages a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues. It was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide, and the one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement. The event is held worldwide towards the end of March annually, encouraging individuals, communities households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet.”

This year it’s Saturday, March 29, from 8:30 – 9:30 in your time zone.

If you go to their website you can find links to events in your country, but while in 2012 Slovenia (a country of 2 million people) had 3 press coordinators publicizing the event and Brunei (pop. roughly 400,000) boasted 5, the US had only one lonely press person trying to engage 315 million people in the event. Currently a rather embarrassing 15, 008 Americans have pledged to extinguish their lights for 60 minutes.

So what difference does turning off your lights for an hour make? Not much. But it is, obviously, part of a larger campaign to raise awareness of energy consumption and waste along with much broader environmental issues.

Inspired in part by Earth Hour, France last year passed a law banning the use of all-night illumination in non-residential buildings. The result? “According to a statement from the ministry of sustainable development, the lights-off plan will save €200 million per year, ‘the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 750,000 households.'” Not a bad start for a perfectly sensible measure.

tent in the boys' room 2Last year we made it an adventure in our family, pitching a tent in the boys’ room, grabbing flashlights, snacks and a few books and keeping the lights out all night. This year I think we’ll camp out on the terrace, cook outdoors, have a fire, and stretch Earth Hour out to encompass the whole evening.

As part of Earth Hour the organizers have set up what’s called an I Will if You Will challenge, in which individuals and organizations pledge to do something – anything –  if others will take up a specific environmental challenge.

As I wrote before, last year I made a video pledge to never again order bottled water in a restaurant if 50 people would promise to use public transport to commute to work, while our son D agreed to lay off the Legos for a week if 100 people would plant a tree.

Both videos went viral, in the sense that Ebola is viral – i.e. they soon died; mine got 20 views, while 12 people watched D’s video. This year I hope to do better.

I haven’t been able to set up an I Will if You Will challenge through Earth Hour’s website (I’ve been getting a ‘technical difficulties’ message for a week now), but I’m doing it anyway. So you’ll find mine below, and although you’ll have to watch the video for details, I’ll tell you broadly that it involves plastic and nudity.

All you need to do is leave the comment “I WILL” on YouTube, and I’ll know that you’re in. Simple as that. I have to get at least 20 people to take up my challenge, so don’t be afraid to spread this far and wide to help me in my quest to use my buns to save the globe.

11 thoughts on “Saving the World by Baring My Bum: Earth Hour 2014

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  3. I know that this is going to come off as rude, and I don’t mean it to be but I find earth hour to be a colossal joke and no matter how genuinely meant an workable and useless gesture. After earth hour, I am imagining that we not only turn the lights back on (what about the fridge?) but also charging up our phones, our iPads and every other electronic gadget we posses, then we gas up and go for a drive. Pollies and CEOs can Skype but prefer to get on a plane for a bit of face time. It’s all very we’ll to say you’ll give up bottled water, but will you give up blogging? Perhaps the Americans are waiting for us to get the point.


  4. Do not buy them anyway. Go through major tribulations to not buy plastic anything. To not use plastic-made objects. To use and reuse the horrid plastic bags. To persuade my friends to do the same ( my family is also obsessed by plastic, so this part is solved); do not have much success with my friends, they say that they have their own crusades and don’t intend to adopt mine. Deep sigh.
    Thank you for doing this.


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  6. Nothing excites me more than environmental awareness! (Ok, that’s not exactly true but let’s keep it clean here.) The video made me laugh out loud and it’s not like you’re brow-beating everyone to take better care of the Earth. I’ve already shared this on facebk and I hope it inspires my friends to take notice of the cause. One question – Will there be some sort of giveaway for front row seats to see this streaking performance of yours?


    • Folks will just have to wait for the YouTube video, I suppose, although the good people visiting the church just above the beach should have a pretty clear view.
      Although I play up the drama in the video, my brother put it a bit in perspective in his FB post:
      “Passing along for my brother, who, with sufficient participation, is willing to streak on a public beach, and plunge into the ocean’s icy winter waters in order to help preserve the planet. It bears pointing out that he lives in Barcelona, Spain, and the beaches all seem to be somewhat clothing optional, and the “icy winter water” temperature is in the upper 50’s (the average ocean temp in Portland, ME for June/July), but it’s the intention and the concept that really count here.”
      Yes, well. And thanks for sharing! I have only 2 takers thus far, so we have a way to go.


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