Unlike solving world hunger by wearing red socks, or other useless calls to arms that circulate on social media; Earth Hour is a call to action that can make a difference.
Earth Hour is a WWF sponsored event held annually at the end of March, when millions of people and thousands of business worldwide turn off lights and shut down most electrical appliances, using darkness to shed light on climate change.
It’s a time to celebrate sustainability and show support for strategies that will help solve the problem of global warming and to inspire people to reduce their energy consumption in some way, every day.
The First Earth Hour
Earth Hour started as a demonstration in Sydney on March 31, 2007, when more than 2.2 million Sydneysiders and over 2,100 businesses switched off lights and non-essential electrical appliances for one hour to make a powerful statement about the leading contributor to global warming: coal-fired electricity.
That single hour accounted for a 10.2% reduction in energy consumption across the city, and the world took notice.
Earth Hour is sponsored by WWF, a conservation group that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation by 5 percent annually.
From humble beginnings in 2007 just one year later, Earth Hour had become a global movement, with more than 50 million people in 35 countries taking part.
In 2011 with 128 countries on board, Earth Hour added something new to the annual event, urging participants to “go beyond the hour” by committing to at least one environmental action they could continue all year long.
The Purpose of Earth Hour
On Saturday 29th March, Earth Hour supporters will get together at gatherings around the country. You can tune in to the WWF TV special on Channel 10, before turning out the lights to remind the world that it’s lights out for the Great Barrier Reef, if we don’t stand up to protect it.
Wondering what you can do after the lights go out? WWF suggests several possibilities, such as dinner by candlelight (preferably with Earth-friendly beeswax candles), an Earth Hour block party, or a night time picnic with family or friends. And while you’re doing that, give some thought to what else you can do to help protect and preserve the environment.
Some ideas to inspire people to reduce their energy consumption every day are:
- Turn off or unplug computers, televisions, mobile phone chargers, microwaves, and other appliances and electrical devices when they’re not in use instead of leaving them on standby.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room. Encourage your workplace to shut off lights and unused appliances when no one is working. Lighting accounts for about 5% of residential greenhouse gas emissions.
- Heat or cool only the rooms you use regularly and adjust your thermostat to keep your home a little cooler in winter and a little warmer in summer.
- Get a free home energy audit to help you reduce your energy consumption, and switch to green power if your energy company offers renewable energy options.
- Use less hot water. This will not only save water, it will also reduce the amount of electricity (or natural gas) you use to keep water hot.
Just a few simple steps can have a dramatic effect.
To learn more about Earth Hour and get involved, visit the Earth Hour website.