Sunday, March 27, 2011

Earth Hour

Last night, at precisely 9:00, we had a power outage. I was actually in the bathroom at the time, and initially thought that the bathroom bulb had just given up the ghost, but when I emerged, it was to find the entire house in complete darkness.

I initially attributed the lack of energy to a standard power outage -- perhaps a transformer had blown, or a line had fallen. Power outages aren't exactly uncommon in the BVI, but when HB and I went out on the porch to ascertain the extent of this particular outage, we realized that the entire island was without power. Seeing the blackness spreading out in all directions, we also recognized that neither of us had heard a transformer pop, or any of the other sounds generally associated with a power outage. It had, in fact, happened in complete silence.

That's when I remembered that Earth Hour was being celebrated throughout the world on March 26th. In an effort to raise awareness regarding climate change, the organizers of Earth Hour request that everyone turn off all non-essential electrics at 8:30pm local time for one hour. This year, organizers were also asking that people extend Earth Hour for longer than one hour, in order to pay homage to the recent earthquake in Japan.

Our lights came back on at 10:30pm. Exactly ninety minutes after the whole island had been bathed in darkness, we all were returned to the electrical age. There was no announcement that the BVI would be participating in Earth Hour as a whole - no articles in the paper or anything like. And perhaps I am giving BVI Electric too much credit; after all, our outage didn't happen until 9:00, and Earth Hour was supposed to start at 8:30. But I like to think this was the territory's way of participating in this global event.

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