Never heard of Tórshavn?
It’s the Capital of the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic between Iceland and Scotland. Although it’s tacitly a part of Denmark, it’s explicitly not part of the European Union (EU) so they can do as they wish with regards to traditional fishing and trade.
And trade they can this year in a unique commodity called non-diurnal darkness (NDD), thanks to a total solar eclipse over the region of the islands on the 20th of March, 2015. It’ll be a surplus of darkness for the Faroese population, disrupting their working day so the Løgting today passed a law allowing in the trade of NDD, facilitating exchange with municipalities around the world to e.g. offset the WWF’s Earth Hour.
Prime Minister Kaj Leo Johannesen has welcomed the initiative, inviting other nations such as Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland to place their NDD on the NDDX for sale to municipalities that wish to symbolically participate in Earth Hour, but not experience the inconvenience. At this stage, the exchange will only accept equivalent darkness from municipalities that experience an eclipse of 80% for more than 2 minutes.
A Faroese levy on transactions is projected to yield around 7 million Faroese króna to beef up the small nation’s coffers for the next election in October this year. Faroese municipalities are set to individually make about 20 times as much. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the total international market subject to total and partial eclipse.
WWF were not available to comment. An insider who wishes to remain anonymous said that “The exchange is not in the spirit of Earth Hour whose symbolism isn’t for sale.” She also pointed out that Earth Hour isn’t until the 28th of the month and that any traded offsets would probably not be recognized by the WWF anyway. Colleagues pulled her away from reporters before she could say any more.