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This past weekend, I took part in Earth Hour, a worldwide movement to show support for planet earth. An estimated one billion people from 120 countries participated, turning off non-essential lights for one hour. This included government and corporate buildings, landmarks like the Vegas Strip and the Empire State Building, and regular citizens like you and me.

In the midst of Earth Hour, I looked out of the window and noticed that nobody in my neighborhood was participating. When I posted on Facebook that my lights were out, I got a text from a friend letting me know that all his lights were on. Seriously? Not only are you not participating, but you have to rub it my face? I’m sure he did it just to get a rise out of me – and it worked.

I was cautiously hopeful when, at 7:28 p.m., the people who live behind us had all their lights off. But then at 8:30 p.m., as if on cue, they turned on all their lights! It was almost as though they’d decided to rebel against the movement. I’m pretty sure they were just another clueless couple that didn’t even know about the event. These are the same people who believe they live in the middle of nowhere and are super loud at all hours of the day and night. That’s another whole topic, though.

I’m thinking Earth Hour wasn’t publicized properly; even my husband didn’t know about it. So I can’t get mad at the whole neighborhood for not turning out their lights. I can, however, get mad at people in the neighborhood for putting out a recycling bin, yet throwing out multiple water bottles (yes, I can see through the yellow city trash bags). And I can also get mad at the waste-producing families who pile eight or nine huge garbage bags in front of their house, yet don’t even bother recycling.

Okay, so not everyone wants to go completely out of his or her way to save the planet. But when the city makes it so simple by providing you recycling bins and picking up your recycling curbside, why wouldn’t you do it? Take advantage of what your tax dollars are paying for! And when it’s as easy as turning off your lights for one hour, what’s stopping you? Complete laziness? Total disregard for the environment? Think of it as saving pennies on your electric bill. Maybe that will motivate you.

Now I don’t want to turn this post into a bitch-fest, so here are some ways you can lessen your impact on the environment, courtesy of the Earth Hour website:

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones.
  • Recycle paper and plastic, instead of using the trash.
  • Read news online, instead of buying paper copies.
  • Grow vegetables during the summer.
  • Bicycle or walk to work or to run errands instead of driving.
  • Take the bus or train, instead of driving long distances.
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use.
  • Lower the thermostat to cut back on heating during the winter.
  • Insulate and eliminate drafts to get the most out of your heating and cooling.
  • Plant a tree to help filter your air and to provide shade

And now, after reading this, you have no excuse to NOT turn out your lights for Earth Hour in 2011.

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