Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour Was Made for the Darwin Awards

Last year, during Earth Hour, we just went about our business as usual. Then the door bell rang. A little doe-eyed blonde girl earnestly beseeched us to turn off all of our lights. Didn't we know that it was Earth Hour? At first this exchange seemed kind of cute. Then, upon reflection, it seemed kind of creepy, as we realized that this child was likely spurred into action at the behest of either a) activist parents or, more likely, b) an activist elementary school teacher.

So, this year, we went about our business as usual, except that we also left the porch light on. If the little girl returned, we didn't want her to trip on the front steps. But she didn't return. As I peaked out the front window, I noticed that the lights were all on at her house too. In fact, they had more lights on than we did. That convinced me that option (b) above was indeed correct.

Still, I was struck yesterday by the testimonials of a number of other bloggers yesterday, who commented on children in their neighbourhoods going up and down the street haranguing their neighbours to turn off their lights for Earth Hour.

I wonder if that's what happened in one Mississauga neighbourhood, and if one family now wishes it hadn't.

Earth Hour celebrations ended on a sour note for residents of a Meadowvale townhouse last night when they discovered a fire had destroyed a portion of their home.

Nobody was injured in the blaze.

According to Peel Regional Police, the occupants of the home at 3947 Stardust Dr. lit a candle to participate in Earth Hour celebrations around 8:30 p.m., then left the home for about 45 minutes.

When they returned, they found their home in flames with thick pockets of smoke pouring from a second-storey bedroom window.

Normally, we associate this kind of tragic carelessness with Christmas candles and Victoria Day fireworks. Now firefighters have yet another annual 'red alert' day to mark on their calendars. Great.

And as for the unfortunate family who lit their townhouse up like a Roman candle? Well, their one-night carbon footprint probably cancelled out all the best intentions of their carbon-saving neighbours.

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