We've just participated in Earth Hour, the WWF's campaign to highlight the threat of global warming where everyone turns their lights out from 8:30-9:30pm.
I hadn't really planned what I was going to do for my hour of darkness and at 8:25 was scrabbling around for tealights and roasting peanuts for a Thai Salad I was making for tea*. I set up a few candles in the kitchen, made sure I knew where my sharp knives where (didn't fancy ending up in A&E saying "well I was trying to save the planet and inadvertently sliced open my radial artery instead of a tomato") and promptly switched the lights out at 8:30.
The first thing which struck me was the peace and quiet. We'd had some inane Saturday night TV on in the background and it was a relief to switch that off. The gentle hum of my fridge accompanied the preparation of the salad and I found my mind wandering while I grated carrots and mashed chillies. Mr Gingerknits was even less prepared than I was and hid under the duvet on our sofa. Part of the Thai Salad recipe involved bashing the salad, ideally with a mortar and pestle (which is which, I can never remember) so I handed this over to him to keep him busy.
I prepared the veg for the next course, a Thai Green Curry which is cooking as I type this. I didn't want to cook that by candle light and was trying to not use any electricity during Earth Hour. As my eyes grew accustomed to the dimness I found I noticed different things. I poured some rice into the pan to soak and was startled by the brightness of the rice against the pans dark interior.
I wouldn't want to permanently live like this, the power cut at Christmas was bad enough, however switching everything off every so often really does make me appreciate the basic things we take for granted. After I graduated I volunteered on a development project in Tanzania. Our living conditions were very basic and I still remember the rush to light our hurricane lamps as the sun set. It's a good reminder that this is how most people on the planet still live.
I popped out into our garden to see if anyone else was taking part. As I scanned round the buildings which back onto our street I spied a chap having a shower, silhouetted again the window, furiously washing his man parts. After I stopped laughing and realised that watching him was inappropriate and a bit too Alfred Hitchcock I went to the front of my flat to see if people in my street had turned their lights off and discovered snails munching away on my newly planted lettuce seedlings in my window box. They were transplanted to the back garden so Earth Hour has saved my lettuces, for now.
Maybe I'll go into the garden more often at night, but only to look at snails, not my neighbours.
*I'm from Yorkshire where tea means evening meal as well as the beverage we drink by the bucketful.
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