Admit it. No excuse not to switch off your lamp for an hour in support of this global event. No blueprint or instruction manual needed. But what if you’re on vacation? Should you just skip it altogether?
By Ari Vanuaranu
Earth Hour is a chance for us to reflect.
In that hour of darkness, we have the chance to think about our attitude towards the environment and energy conservation. How even the simplest thing can make a big impact. Just like what UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “Let’s use sixty minutes of darkness to help the world see the light”.
If Earth Hour coincides with your vacation this 31 March 2012 (8:30pm to 9:30pm local time), do you have to sacrifice your precious holiday time just for the sake of Earth Hour? Of course not! In fact, some things are just more fun in the dark!
World’s best-known landmarks from France’s Eiffel Tower to China’s Forbidden City will go dark in support of Earth Hour. It’s a view that we rarely get a chance to see, so bring your own candles (environmentally-friendly beeswax candles, more natural than Lindsay Lohan) and go with your friends and families to join other Earth Hour participants to see your local landmarks go unplugged.
To make the event more memorable, organise fun activities such as ladies putting on their make up in the dark before going out. Gentlemen, be a trooper for the night and ask your 5-year old daughter or your baby sister to be your stylist (expect nothing less than fairy wings and feather boas). Get extraordinary for that one hour of pure fun!
[DID YOU KNOW? The first Earth Hour was held in Sydney, 2007 where it resulted in a remarkable 10.2% reduction of the city’s energy usage. The carbon dioxide emissions saved were equivalent to taking more than 48,000 cars off the road for an hour! ]
The spectacle of shimmering skyscrapers is what cities like Hong Kong or Singapore are famous for. But even these cities show their support to Earth Hour by dimming their financial districts. In Hong Kong, don’t forget to go uphill with the Peak Tram to go to The Peak, the city’s main attraction which sits 545 metres above sea level. Watch as the financial districts of the city dim their lights for Earth Hour. If you’re in Singapore, go to Mount Faber and have fun here while waiting for the Earth Hour. It’s an amazing sight as many governmental and privately-owned buildings switch their floodlighting and other illuminations.
Dimmer for Two
If you’re the romantic type, there’s no reason not to make Earth Hour a special moment in your vacation. After all, spending that hour in the darkness with your loved one will definitely feed the romantic fire in your relationship in a meaningful way. Imagine taking your significant other for dinner at one of the beaches in Phuket or Krabi at a table with candles and tiki torches around it. Add fresh flowers and your favourite songs to make it a night to remember. As you dine, don’t forget to discuss how you lovebirds can be the best environmentally-friendly couple in the world. One hour will fly away just like that, so don’t forget to take pictures to show the world your romantic Earth Hour moments.
Stargazing is another idea to spend your Earth Hour if you are vacationing in a place with a good observing site such as Mersing in Malaysia. As you observe the stars you’ll feel very small. Unless you suddenly turn into a super genius who can find another liveable planet, we must realize that it’s just us and Mother Earth. So get your act together!
Spas are big in Asia and have become an attraction of its own. Why not try ayurveda in a candle-lit spa in India? Also, you can ask the service of blind therapists which is common in places like Indonesia (Bali is world’s best spa destination). That way you can be helping the Earth and build your empathy toward those with disabilities while still getting that refreshing and relaxing massage. Ah, the bliss of self complacency…
Switched On for Adventure
Not a romantic, don’t care for spas, but a thrill-seeking traveller? If you’re a fan of horror movies (no, we’re not talking about the likes of Keeping up with the Kardashians) then you’re no stranger to the whole Asian horror sub-genre. If you’re looking forward to an adventure to the ‘other side’, you can join spooky tours to some of the (allegedly) haunted places in Southeast Asia. For example, you can go to Lawang Sewu in Semarang, Indonesia and venture into its dungeon where thousands of people were tortured to death during Japanese occupation. To add to the suspense, turn off your flashlights during Earth Hour. Just don’t come crying to your mommy after this 😛
Turning off light for merely an hour is too tame for you? Have a taste of monastic living by staying in a Buddhist temple. Take it further with Gibbon Experience in Laos or homestay in Borneo where there’s not much light in the first place. Yes, that means no television either. Don’t worry, the fact that you’re not watching a Barclays match for a mere hour won’t change anything.
Beyond the Hour
You see, there are so many things that you can do for Earth Hour even if you’re on vacation. Have fun, hang out with the folks at Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, release a sky lantern in Davao or watch fire dancers in Boracay. Don’t make your vacation as an excuse not to participate in this no-excuse event. Even if you’re taking a vacation in a secluded place, make sure you make it count.
At the end of the day, Earth Hour is not about saving an hour’s electricity; it’s about uniting people to protect the planet. And the best thing is each one of us can be a part of it–together our actions add up. More importantly, while our actions will make a statement for the hour, it will be our actions over the longer time that can make a real difference.
Earth Hour is about sharing inspirations. Share with us your plans, both during Earth Hour and afterwards in Comment section below.
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