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Another Earth Hour has come and gone. Did you observe it? I have to admit, this was the first year that I participated.  What? You aren’t familiar with Earth Hour? Shame on you! That must mean you are not a reader of my Rivers of Change Action Alerts J. What? You don’t receive Rivers of Change Action Alerts? If you would like to be included in the email list either post a comment here or shoot me an email.

Ok, enough of the shameless promotion of Rivers of Change, back to Earth Hour. If you observed Earth Hour, please add a comment to the post describing how you passed the hour. If you did not observe it, I would love to hear from you as well…was it because you didn’t know about it, were you at work, or was the NCAA game on TV just too mesmerizing to remember to shut off your lights?

As for us, as I said, this was our first year. The first task for the day, was to identify which circuit breaker would shut off our outside carriage lights (shhh, don’t tell the HOA police). While doing this, I made a couple of interesting discoveries. First, electricians have pretty crappy handwriting. (At least the one that installed our breaker box and identified the breakers did) Second, I really DO need my glasses to read anything. Third, even with my glasses on the print was too small read. So I did what any helpless male would do. I asked my wife to read it for me. Excellent , breaker 25.

That evening, as it neared time for the appointed hour, I turned off the Pitt/Villanova game, started a fire in the fireplace and uncorked a bottom of wine (sorry Laurent, it was California wine) while my wife lit several candles around the house. At about 8:25 a huge thunderstorm hit. (Wouldn’t be ironic to have a power outage right about now?). I dashed out to unplug our garden lights and to trip breaker 25. Oops, not the right one. I don’t know what I turned off, but it was NOT the carriage lights. Frantic now to get the lights off (after all, I had to go dark, I had sent out the Rivers of Change alert to hundreds of people, I couldn’t leave my lights on!) I dashed back in the house and yelled for my wife. Thinking the only thing that would cause me to get so agitated was an impending tornado, a serious injury or a Dolphins loss she came running. Throwing caution to the wind, she calmly flipped breaker 27 and the carriage lights went out. (Damn, now why didn’t I think of that!)

So now, it was dark and just in time, too! The lights were off, the candles were lit, we had a roaring fire in the fireplace and a nice bottle of Pinot Noir and we cozied down in the family room to…

Play The Lewis and Clark Board Game, of course! What were YOU thinking? Yes, there really IS a Lewis and Clark Board Game and YES, we really played it! In fact, at the end of the hour, we were not finished with our game, so we continued until my wife won AGAIN (she happens to be undefeated in that particular game). So for us, our Earth Hour was actually two.

You’ve now heard about my Earth Hour, now tell me about yours. I’m willing to bet you did not play The Lewis and Clark Board Game!

For those that are wondering, yes, I know how to spell awareness (and so does my spell checker)!

I recently read the book “Awearness”, by Kenneth Cole, yes, that, Kenneth Cole, the fashion designer. (Thanks for the gift Jane!). I must admit, I was not AWARE of Mr. Cole’s involvement in social, environmental and political issues. He truly leads his company with a triple bottom line approach of People, Planet and Profit.

 It was my reading of this book that inspired me to create the “Rivers of Change Action Alert” that many of you received. (If you did not receive it and would like to receive a periodic email highlighting areas in which you can become involved, or you would like to see a sample, please drop me an email or post to this blog).

 The chapters in the book are divided into issues confronting the world such as: Political Activism, Human Rights, Civil Liberties, AIDs, the Environment and more. Each chapter begins with an introduction of the topic by Mr. Cole. Following the introduction are articles written various people, some who have reached celebrity status and some who may not be household names. These articles zero in on specific aspects of the issues. One of the things that set this book apart in my mind is the way each chapter closes.

 Each chapter ends with a section titled “HOW TO…” which details several ways an individual can get involved with the issue covered in the chapter. These actions are categorized by “Time”, “Items”, “Expertise”, and “Dollars”. Following that is the “WHERE TO…” section which provides descriptions and web addresses for a multitude of organizations working on that particular issue.

 This book has something for everyone from Robert Redford writing on free speech to Rachael Ray on nutrition for kids. The list of authors is incredible: Melissa Etheridge, Martin Luther King III, Ashley Judd, Russell Simmons, Jon Bon Jovi, Lauren Bush, Lance Armstrong, Dr. Victoria Hale, President Bill Clinton, Sir Elton John, Ludacris, Sarah Brady, and many, many, more!

 The Environment chapter, titled “Is It Us, or Is It Warm in Here?” begins with an article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. about kicking our carbon addiction, moves through Avery Hairston encouraging youth involvement and Woody Harrelson on sustainable living and ends with Alicia Silverstone on the impacts of our diets on the environment and Lance Bass on how to spread the word. The “HOW TO…” section has suggestions for using our Time to become politically involved or encouraging involvement at work or school, and thinking green at home. The Items category recommends BYOB (Bring your own bag) shopping or building a rainwater-catching system. It goes on to encourage using our Expertise to produce a website, become a public speaker, or start a community garden. We can also put our Dollars to use by buying local, or save money by saving energy, or sponsoring and endangered animal.

 I am certainly not doing the book justice here. I encourage you to check out KennethCole.Com or Awearnessblog.Com and of course read the book! And please, let me know your thoughts after you do!