At 8:30 pm this Saturday, the world will go dark. Or so we hope. It's the third annual Earth Hour, in which individuals, businesses, and entire cities (including Portland) shut off their lights for an hour or more in an effort to make a statement about global warming while reducing their carbon footprints.
City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg says Portland City Hall's lights will be turned off all weekend (really? they're not usually?). We intend to participate as well (but we're concerned — does the karaoke machine at Flask have a generator???).
At the Earth Hour Web site, organizers provide a bunch of suggestions of how to spend your hour in the dark, including organizing a night picnic in your local park to look at the stars, taking a candlelit bath, or embarking on a treasure hunt in the dark. They also encourage participants to "upload your 'on the night' photos and videos to Flickr and YouTube respectively, and then add them to the Earth Hour Flickr group and the Global YouTube group."
Here are some other things you could do, courtesy of us here at the Phoenix:
1) Watch a movie on your iPod.
2) Make art with glow-in-the-dark paint, markers, Play Doh, etc.
3) Stare at the blank TV and wonder what went wrong.
4) Direct quote from a co-worker: "Sex, of course (maybe not for a full hour though, who could do that?)."
5) Take a shower in the dark (a strange and cool sensation).
6) Citywide flashlight tag!
7) Play with a battery-powered Lite Brite.
8) Silent meditation.
9) Contemplate taking a walk down the street, but decide not to, for fear of becoming envious of non-Earth-Hour-observing neighbors, whose homes are bathed in carbon-emitting light.
10) Or, take a walk anyway, hoping the feeling of being superior to your Earth-killing neighbors will outweigh your envy of them.
11) Cuddle up with your dog or cat.
12) Take off your glasses and enjoy an evening of not only pure darkness, but also complete blurriness. Total sensory madness!
13)8:30 Remember that you wanted to try to assemble that telescope that's somewhere in storage. 8:45 Find telescope buried under boxes of stuff you thought you threw away years ago. 9:00 Finish extracting telescope from pile, having avoided bodily injury and structural damage. 9:05 Begin assembling. 9:15 Realize there are still a couple parts missing from the tripod, so it won't stand up properly. 9:25 Find the missing parts. 9:30 Finish assembling tripod, take telescope outside, start looking at the sky. 9:31 Become blinded by your neighbor's exterior lights turning back on because Earth Hour has ended.
14) Light a fire in the fireplace, because even if you're observing Earth Hour, you want to be sure to have a big impact on the climate for later generations.
15) Dig out your glow-in-the-dark ice cubes (glowinthedarkicecube.com) and have a cocktail party.
16) Prematurely celebrate Chris Gray's birthday.
17) Ouija board. Duh.
18) Ultimate Frisbee with a glow-in-the-dark disc and headlamps.
19) Crank up the romance with a candlelight (soy candles please!) dinner.
20) Turn on every damn light in the place, crank the stereo, and even fire up the electric space heater. What's the problem? I use wind and small-hydro power supplied by Maine Green Energy — I observe Earth Hour by using electricity!
Things not to do during Earth Hour:
1) Play darts.
2) Hang pictures.
3) Decide on your outfit for your 10th high school reunion.
4) Apply make-up.
5) Give yourself (or the dog) a haircut.