What is it about candle light that is so alluring? Is that we all appear ten years younger when lit by the romantic glow of a flame, or that the flickering takes us out of the here and now, making the world appear ethereal and slightly unreal? A welcoming distraction is these disturbing times perhaps.
Candles can also signify the ‘lights going out’, that great fear of all western nations, which is why we scrabble for the last vestiges of fossil fuels; to stop the lights going out. Those who remember the power cuts of the early 70’s will remember evenings of candle light, no doubt from many different perspectives. Mine was that of a child, loving the excitement of the dark, the story telling and the candles at the bedside. My mother knew how to make a massive inconvenience into a fun time, for us kids at least. That this fear of the lights going out is nurtured at the bosom of the fossil fuel companies is never really given the platform it needs, given the fact that it is very clear we have the technology to fuel our entire nation on renewables if we/they so chose.
I was inspired to hold a candlelit dinner by the WWF Earth Hour phenomenon that has become a global tradition. For one hour, on the same day at the same time all over the world people turn the lights off. Some simply turn them off and think about what it’s all about. Some turn them off and use the hour to spread the word, enjoy explore other ways to light the dark, and make it fun.
I am aiming to do the latter of course. Gather groups of friends together, eat delicious, simple food, listen to some great live music, drink nice wine, share discussion and listen to some great sweary poetry - all by candlelight.
Anyone remotely awake knows that we heading for climate disaster unless we/they actually take action now. With the orange fiend in charge in the USA and Mrs. May-i-hold-your-hand here it looks like the path to doom is completely unobstructed. I, like many others, feel a sense of impotence and frustration that we can’t as individuals do anything to change this. Democracy is all very well but it moves at a snail’s pace in comparison to the destruction that these people, once in charge can achieve is a very short time.
So, is holding a dinner by candle light, eating yummy food and drinking nice wine going to make any difference? Is the march in London on the same day going to help keep some kind of unity with Europe? Will the march in support of the NHS stop the awful, seemingly unstoppable move toward privatisation and USA like insurance style health care coming at us? Maybe, maybe not. But what it, and marches and get togethers of all kinds, can do is remind us that we are not alone, that together we are a force, that maybe, one tiny step, one tiny candle at a time we can make change happen. Maybe from there will come ideas, a plan, or many plans, and maybe, just maybe, we can, together turn this ship around. Or at the very least we will have a really brilliant evening with friends.
Words by Liz Haughton