Are you keeping up with “The Greens”?

I’ve never been someone who loses sleep over “keeping up with the Joneses”… or “The Greens”, for that matter!  I’ve made that perfectly clear when I admitted that I have gnarly trees in my yard (that I refuse to cut down) and how 42-19599600my lawn is not nearly as pristine as the one next door since we’ve stopped chemically fertilizing and weed killing and refuse to clear our backyard of trees so the lawn can be greener!

But what if you WERE compared to your neighbors?  What if your utility company said you “weren’t being as green as your neighbors”?  What if you got a letter, with a frowning face, that said you were being wasteful?  GASP!  Who me?

As crazy as that sounds, it’s actually happening.  Utility companies in some cities, including Sacramento, CA, and Austin, MN, are sending homeowners assessments of their energy consusmiley-not-facemption that compare them to neighbors with like-sized homes and energy supplies.  If you rank lower than average, you get a “smiley face”… if not, a big “frowny face!”  And amazingly, it’s working.  They are actually seeing a reduction in energy use by those who receive a dreaded negative rating!

smiley-faceI really think I would go nuts if I found out my “tree chopping” neighbor consumed less energy than me.  Sure there are a lot of factors to consider, but still!… it lends itself to the whole psychology of being compared to someone else, and that just might light a bigger “green” fire under me! I would consider it a huge challenge to keep up with the “smiley face” neighbors!

So where do you think you would rate? Would you want to know?

…a last “look” at Earth Hour 2009…

Okay, I swear this will be the last post about Earth Hour (at least for this year!…)

earth-hour-switchTake a last look at some famous landmarks and locations around the world turning off the lights for Earth Hour.  This whole event still amazes me!  (Beginning with the second photo, you can click on the image to see it fade.  However, you will need javascript to enjoy this feature.)

And while I’m already “here” – I never gave any real credit to WWF (World Wildlife Fund) for being the driving force behind Earth Hour!  Thanks, WWF!  We loved casting our vote!

How the Mom Goes Green family spent Earth Hour!

We counted down… we turned ‘em off… WE LOVED IT!!!

earth-hour-sydneyOur kids were so excited that we were participating in Earth Hour that they ran around the house screaming the minutes until the lights went off.  We watched footage from around the globe as landmarks went dark and each and every time our kids squealed “Keeewl!”  I was ‘Twittering away’ up until the last moment and even had an exchange with Diddy (how crazy is THAT?!?) when he thought it started at 8:00.  (He apologized and corrected himself to his 300K+ followers!)

At the risk of sounding cheesy, it was really heartwarming to be a part of something that was embraced by such diverse cultures around the world.  Nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries around the globe participated – from Sydney to Jakarta, Singapore to Beijing, New Dehli to Moscow, Cairo to Athens, Stockholm to Rome, Paris to London, and NYC to Las Vegas and LA – the lights went to black in each of our time zones, but we all celebrated our incredible bond and let our voices be heard.  I was truly moved. earth-hour-egypt

Okay, enough of the mushies… but sincerely, we had a great time being a part of this worldwide “vote” against global warming.  Since we were blacked out, the kids did get a little FREAKED out so we let them have flashlights (with rechargeable batteries, of course!).  We spent the hour cheering for Earth Hour, making silly shadows in the illumination of the flashlights, and talking about global warming, being “environmental” and why we were participating in the event.  Our daughter was a little disheartened by the story of polar bears because, as she put it, “Polar bears are my second-most favorite animal in the whole world, Mom!” but I think it really drove home the effects of global warming and gave her a clearer understanding.

We were thrilled to look toward downtown Cleveland (that we can clearly see from the back of our house) and see that some of the skyline had gone dark (kudos, Cleveland!).  We even moved from room to room in our house to see how cool the darkness could be but also felt grateful that, on a “regular” night, we are lucky enough to turn on lights when we need them.  We even took time out to read a story from the Barefoot Book of Earth Tales (giveaway still open!) by flashlight, while snuggling on our bed!

earth-hour-kuala-lumpurOn a side note (as Recycling/Environmental Program Chairman at our daughter’s school) I sent out an invitation to participate in Earth Hour to all 418 students.  They participate, sign the pledge to say that they turned out the lights and can win prizes for doing so.  I’m so excited to see how many of them joined us!

Overall, I think it was a wonderful night and an amazing symbol that we are all unified in our concerns for this wonderful planet we share.

After the lights were turned back on, I think our son summed it up best by saying “That was the best “Errf Hour” in my whole life, ever!” Yes, sweetie, it certainly was.

Earth Hour 2009… can you spare the time?

I recently learned about Earth Hour 2009 and I want to tell you now, so you mark your calendars.

EH_A2_Template_FINAL.inddEarth Hour started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, with 2.2 million homes and businesses turning off their lights for one hour as a “vote” FOR the earth, and a “vote” AGAINST global warming.  By 2008, this movement had grown to 50 million people, and even darkened the Sydney Opera House, Rome’s Colosseum, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the Coca-Cola sign in NYCs Times Square.

This year the goal is ONE BILLION people switching off their lights in a unified vote, because, regardless of where you live, we all depend on the same planet!  This is the perfect timearth-hour-2e to turn off the lights, discuss global warming with your children, talk about what you can do to fight global warming and just “cozy-up” to consider taking actions to assure that we aren’t polluting our earth and overusing resources in our everyday lives – and realize how vital our actions are.  You might even consider contacting local officials and get your city, town or municipality to “switch off” too!… I did!

Mark your calendar:  Saturday, March 28, 2009, from 8:30 – 9:30 PM

Stand up, sign up and take responsibility.

Will you “vote” with me?