Sunday, March 29, 2009

Drink in the Dark 2009 Earth Hour Success

Drink in the Dark an Earth Hour Success

by Amelia Sauter, Ithaca, NY

85 people, 37 candles, three brave bartenders and one confused dog: Drink in the Dark for Earth Hour 2009 was a success at Felicia's Atomic Lounge! On March 28, 2009, people all around the world turned off their lights and electrical appliances for one hour, 8:30pm-9:30pm, to show support for our Earth and a commitment to stop global warming.

As the lights were turned off one by one, the crowd cheered and the bartenders lit candles so they could see the cocktails they were making. One bartender donned a headlamp. Staff placed multiple candles in the bathrooms, in the kitchen and on the tables. Off went the music. Eesah the Lounge dog ran around with an LED light attached to his collar. "We should do this more often," said virtually every patron we talked to, as their eyes adjusted from the non-participatory glowing streetlights to the darkness of the bar. Co-owner Amelia Sauter's response as she paced around, checking in with patrons and nervously peeking into the candlelit bathrooms? "Not too often. Drunk people and fire is a slightly worrisome combination." She added that she checked all of the fire extinguishers before the event started.

Did any other Ithaca businesses participate? If they did, no one seemed to know about it. Makes you stop and wonder how people in Kuwait, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia could have unified, mass de-lighting events, but Ithaca, a hub of enlightened do-gooders, did little to publicize and encourage Earth Hour. Yes, the Tompkins County Legislature proclaimed that Ithaca would participate in Earth Hour and the Ithaca Journal published a paragraph about it on the morning of March 28, but we expected more from our eco-sensitive community. The peaceful darkness of Felicia's was surrounded by the light of the glaring streetlights and garish business signs like one at the infamous State Street Diner.

Let's start planning now for 2009 so we can make Earth Hour a meaningful event in Ithaca and all over our electricity-addicted country.

What does it look like to Drink in the Dark? See the candlelight cocktail videos below:

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