Lighten Up – Again

by Einar Du Rietz

The tradition of lighting a candle, or a fire, to guide travellers and visitors is probably as old as the tamed fire. With the invention of electricity and the light bulb, it also became more convenient and safer.

Since some years back, another – imposed – tradition is the so called Earth Hour on Saturday, when politicians and environmentalists, led by WWF expect you to turn out the lights.

My own tradition is to write about this every year, and the most encouraging parallel tradition of turning on your lights during the same hour is spreading, for example on Facebook.

I do admit that candles are cosy, as is a barbecue or an open fireplace. I do however acknowledge that it’s hardly a coincidence that most tragic accidents related to fires occur in different parts of Europe during the events when the open fire, or candle, is – again – part of the tradition. Christmas, Hanukkah, and up north in the spring greetings or light traditions around the darkest day of the year.

And I do, as I do every year, wish to point out that street lights and lighthouses are not there for no reason.

As the entire Earth Hour is just a gimmick with more than questionable environmental symbolism, feel free to light that candle if it makes you happy. If you really care about human safety, why not turn on the lamps.


About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.