You are here. That fragile, impossibly beautiful and achingly vulnerable globe hanging all alone out there in the star speckled dark... that is home. That is Earth.
Earth Hour is a small token of a thing... which does nothing at all to lessen its importance. For far too many of us, we are isolated from the Natural World, displaced into concrete and tiny parks full of play equipment made of plastic, looking at the world through glass, or on a monitor. There is a very true saying, that you don't value something that you don't know exists.
So, tonight, at 8.30, turn off the lights. Have dinner by candlelight. Talk to your family, your friends, if you can go outside and look for the stars. I was on our lawn this week with a good friend who was dazzled (and I don't exagerate) by the brilliant alignment of Venus, Jupiter, the Moon and Mars, all in a parade across the early evening sky before the other stars had begun to show. 75% of the people in the so-called 'developed nations' will never see skies as dark as those we enjoy. Muskoka is the site of the first ever World Heritage Dark Skies Reserve, at the Torrance Barrens. When World Heritage begins to notice that a place where the skies are dark is in need of designation and protection, the rest of the World should be paying more attention.
WWF has created an anthem for Earth Hour. They ask the question, Do you have what it takes?
Take a good close look at our home planet. And ask yourself, If not here, Then where? If not us, then who?
The following are some quotes from the people who were privileged beyond measure to see Earth from a different perspective -- some of the astronauts who have flown on various missions, served on the International Space Station, and all of whom have been changed by the sight of sunrise across the planet.
The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly alone, our home that must be defended like a holy relic. The Earth was absolutely round. I believe I never knew what the word round meant until I saw Earth from space.- Aleksei Leonov, USSR
A Chinese tale tells of some men sent to harm a young girl who, upon seeing her beauty, become her protectors rather than her violators. That's how I felt seeing the Earth for the first time. "I could not help but love and cherish her.
- Taylor Wang, China/USA
The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man, has to make a man appreciate the creation of God and the love of God.
- James Irwin, USA
So, off with the lights. And go farther, think of ways to reduce your energy consumption, and get back to the Natural World. After all... Earth, is there any place you'd rather be?
Westport and beyond
16 hours ago