Earth Hour in India!

Earth Hour in India!

Do remember to switch your lights off at 8.30 p.m. tonight to show solidarity with the larger cause of environment. You can see the events planned in India tonight at this link:


Earth Hour is an event organized by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) every year on the last Saturday of March. It is a call for action to save the environment. Last year in 2011, many millions of people, businesses and communities around the world including 5200 cities and towns across 135 countries around the world switched off the lights for an hour to show solidarity with the message of action on climate change.



Many would argue that switching off lights just for an hour is going to do precious little for the environment. True! if the action remains confined to the Earth Hour, it will be quite pointless. But, if we can carry this initiative right into our everyday lives, we can make a real difference. I mean, we in Bangalore are anyway experiencing pretty harsh power cuts. So, why prolong the agony? I would agree that we are already power deficient but by switching off lights we can reiterate to ourselves the importance of not wasting electricity. Use solar heaters instead of geysers, good ventilation instead of ACs, public transport instead of cars among so many others.


Here in India, our generation has grown up as a generation that has seen a middle-class life. It was ingrained in us from childhood to switch off lights whenever we left the room. In Indian culture, we do not waste food. “Empty your plate” was the wisdom our parents emphasized. It does not mean we overeat. It means we respect food and take whatever we can finish. We respect the fact that while we are fortunate enough to have a full stomach, there are many others who sleep on an empty stomach every single day. We normally don’t throw away leftover food but either consume it or give it to a needy person to eat. Even with regards to clothes, we buy what is required and is worn, not stuff that never gets worn. Also, even today, we share expensive clothes in good condition that our kids have outgrown with our friends who have children of the same age group. I still remember us keeping our school notebooks for our younger brother or sister to use when we were growing or the fact that we were told to take bucket baths and not leave the tap on while brushing our teeth. The factor here is not affordability but an understanding that we have to be considerate to Mother Earth and to the resources at our disposal. My values tell me not to waste. I am hopefully passing on the same compassion to my children.


When I had the opportunity to live in the US, I was shocked to see the wastage around me. The lights were just left on in businesses and offices at night even though no one used them. People would eat in restaurants and leave loads of food to be dumped in dustbins. There was indiscriminate use of plastic and paper. Everyone drove expensive cars, SUVs etc. that were gas guzzlers. It used to make me cringe. Is it because they have never seen deprivation or never expect to face any shortages? Sure, they can afford it, but in the larger scheme of things, can WE afford It? Is that why environment has gone down the spiral so quickly even though countries like China and India are being blamed these days?


While we aspire to provide more freedom and equality to our girls, as we see in the Western cultures, the Indian values of conservation must be passed on. Today, many of us in the cities are indulging in wasteful consumerism without thinking for the future. I hope that city folks living everywhere teach these basic values of conservation to our kids because air, food and water is scarce and precious. Our resources are getting exhausted much more rapidly than they are being regenerated.


Tonight, when you switch off the lights, remember to pledge to yourself that in whatever small way, you will do your bit for the environment and teach your kids to do the same.Watch this great video, The Story of Stuff — It tells you how everything we consume has an impact on the environment. Do watch it; it is really good


Pic courtesy: Danilo Rizzuti /

Facebook Comments

41 thoughts on “Earth Hour in India!

  1. Switching off for a day does not matter in fact people should be more aware while consuming for the whole year.

    They suggest this Earth hour on EPL day , come on a better suggestion watch the matches on the weekends and switch off your televisions for the rest of the week.

    1. Thank you Abhinav for your visit. I would agree and disagree with your first statement. Like I pointed out in the post that if only done for a day, it will serve no purpose. But, if the move spurs us to conserve power, water and food in other ways then we have achieved something. How one conserves is totally left to the individual. Maybe, watching television on weekends might work for you. For someone else, it might be something else. But, there has to be a larger awareness towards the issue.

  2. Thank you Rachna for reminding me about it. Wasteful consumerism in India is fast catching on! If you see the type of clothes that are thrown away in homes these days it is shocking. People these days do not accept old clothes either while in our younger days clothes passed on through generations

    1. Thank you Meera. Yes, I am noticing the same. Expensive clothes and shoes just being bought and discarded with hardly any use. Even among my friends, there are only 3-4 of us who would not mind taking on someone else’s kid’s good clothes to use. I guess consumerism is totally clouding our mindsets.

  3. Rachna, You touched some good points.

    Earth hour in my opinion makes more sense to the western world where energy is so abundant and they waste as you said in USA. I once visited a couple in USA. The lady switched off lights in every room before we were to leave the home; she added that electricity is so cheap that people done bother to power lights/equipment off when not in use; yet she doesnt want to waste it. It was nice of her. So the Earth hour will make sure people switch off their power usage.

    While here; we are already facing the wrath of load shedding. Morning 6 – 9, evening 6 to 9?? So we know people wont sacrifice whatever little luxury they get.

    China and India are being blamed for weather, energy and pollution while there are proven facts about who is wasting what. Its a hogwash!

    1. Insignia, You provide some very valid points. That is why I actually added a small section to the post too. Yes, Earth Hour actually is more useful in teaching the societies that have plenty to conserve. We, in India, are already having a lack of many basics. Yet, have you seen how water is wasted even though Bangalore is on the brink of a water scarcity? Where available power is used indiscriminately too. It is this attitude that we need to be aware of and curb.

  4. ..nice post.. I live in US and we switch off all lights before leaving from work.. but there are few lights which will be there all the time cuz it mandatory ..
    Power is not cheap in US I dunno who said that why ?? it is expensive and yes people do switch off lights most of the time office and home.. GM and FORD motors had put a power cut last time in offices to save energy was for 1/2 hr to an hour depending on the load-shedding!
    wasting food in restaurants ,,,yes that I agree people here waste a lot of food and clothes too ..jus giving it to salvation army all the time doesn’t mean it helps..the eco system ..But keeping your needs in limits is wht we need to learn and save,,, hope this little effort will help..
    nice post

    1. And, you are doing a good job. Actually, way back in 2002, we paid an electricity bill of just about $25 a month on an in California. That was peanuts, yet we just were not in the habit of wasting power. I don’t know the situation now. But, look at gasoline. We pay through our nose for petrol, so we do think twice before taking long trips. Just dropping it off to Salvation Army is not good enough too, in my opinion as well. But, buying less can certainly help. Like you pointed, being aware of the damage that this is causing to the environment and trying to do a little will go a long way.

    1. I did too. Of course, you are right! How do we make these big shots accountable? They are a big problem. There was an article about 3 policemen guarding one VIP in India when the common man has no protection.

  5. Blindly following the consumerist culture of the West is proving disastrous in more ways than one. Ridiculing everything about our culture is the fashion today, but some values like the ones you have enumerated are so precious that ignoring them will only make the environment the poorer for it.

    1. I agree, zephyr. When we blindly follow anything without seeing whether it works in our situation, climate or culture, we end up doing more harm than good.

  6. Good initiative Rachna.

    I would say, those of us who are going through massive power cuts for years, are not the ones that need to be reminded of preciousness of power. Those of us who pay through our noses for power supply , do switch off lights, and gadgets.

    It is the metro city yuppy style guys who need to follow the earth hour.

    It is better if the messge is taken to those illuminations that light the bill boards selling all those commercial stuff. It is to be noted by all those people, whose bill the tax-payers are paying, and who do not suffer any power cuts.

    1. Yes VJ, I agree. But I have seen that when the power is there, at least in Bangalore, there is a lot of wastage. Oh yes and those hi-profile people who get interrupted power supply must be held responsible.

  7. I was in Mumbai recently, and was shocked at the way people waste power, soaps and water. I feel it is a shame to waste where it can be saved. Aren’t the people of Mumbai, people of India. And the same goes to the people abroad, as you have said in the US, they just waste things like anything. It is really sad, nobody cares to save use only what is required.

  8. Yes, very much they are. Some places where one has the amenities and can afford it, then very few understand the importance of conservation. I agree with your point. This mindless wastage is so disturbing!

  9. Yep we waste a lot and there should be change. I am an educated woman in this area and I know it. But am still lazy about several things–mostly because I am not mindful and I am not totally in grips of the pain our carelessness is going to cause the world. Many months back I was on a trek where I had to be waterless in hot sun for nearly 12 hrs. I had climb vertically and climbed down only by telling myself that I was going to get a drink of water. That forever taught me the importance of every drop of water. It is internalized. But other issues–I am still to change that?

  10. Bhavana, thanks for your visit and for such an honest comment. You know you are right, sometimes we all don’t care because we have enough, and it does not affect us directly. But, once we suffer for the lack of it, we treasure that resource. I guess as you get more aware and read and experience climate change, you might begin with small changes like switching off lights, using less plastic covers, things that you can do in your daily life without much difficulty. I am sure then you can discard your attitude of laxity.

  11. This is one thing that only senile dementia will take off me. I actually get restless is someone leaves a light or a fan on in an empty room in their house when I am visiting. You can understand my obsessiveness in mine 🙂 And, I wake up in the night dreaming that I had heard water drip 🙂 It takes a strong effort of will for me to keep silent when I see a guest in my house brushing his teeth with the tap open – even when he is not actually using the water 🙂 I can be a real bad host that way 🙂

    1. I agree it can be irritating to your guest 🙂 but it is wonderful to know that behind that sparkling sense of humor is a man of very solid values! Wish more people would follow in your footsteps.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: