Thing is, these folks don't exactly commit to total darkness. As most news stories of the event note, participants in Earth Hour have a perplexing love affair with candles, which, as I wrote last year, produce ten times the amount of CO2 as an incandescent light bulb for the equivalent amount of light. Way to save the earth, boys and girls. (I suppose you could argue that we should use less light, but I've always found it hard to design next-generation windmills and solar panels in a darkened room).
Instead of cursing your microwave and desk lamp, then, I recommend a trip back in time. To hear the Earth Hour folks tell it, humanity and the earth would be better off if we gave up the luxurious fripperies of modern life and simply reverted to the technologies of our ancestors - candles, for instance. If this happens to be your refrain, I give you two PBS shows from recent years. The first is The 1900 House, in which a modern English family is put into a middle-class, Victorian-era home and limited to the conveniences of that period. The second is Frontier House, in which modern American families are sent out to the Montana wilderness and forced to live as 19th century pioneers. Blessedly, thanks to the wonders of modern technology and electricity, both shows are available on Youtube. Watch these shows and then tell me that our forebears lived a "greener," more sustainable life. I dare you.
Here's part one of The 1900 House:
And here's part one of Frontier House: