Celebrate our Amazing Planet with Earth Hour
Earth Day might be the oldest environmental holiday, but saving the planet takes more than one day per year. That’s why environmental activists have devised so many other collective actions to remind Homo sapiens to take care of our habitat. In our Celebrate our Amazing Planet series, your kids will learn about the challenges affecting our environment and how they can be part of the solution.
If you thought a day was too big of a deal, try being green for just one hour. Earth Hour, a global environmental movement to raise awareness about climate change (and to fight it), takes place on the last Saturday of March. (This year, we celebrate Earth Hour on March 25, 2017). Across the globe, people turn off their lights between 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm in their local time zone to create a powerful visual symbol of energy conservation.
Although it’s only one hour, seeing the lights of the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue, and dozens of other iconic landmarks go dark – as well as the private homes and businesses of millions across the world – sends a powerful message to world leaders on the need to stop climate change.
Conceived by the World Wildlife Fund based in Singapore, the first Earth Hour was in 2007 in Sydney, and quickly spread (like candlelight) across the globe. Aside from plunging the world into temporary darkness, the movement aims to “shine a light on global climate change” and spur groups and leaders into mindful actions that preserve the environment.
Across the world, people have used the Earth Hour impetus to petition their governments for greener public transport, stop deforestation, switch to LED lights, and plant trees. And crucially, campaigns by Earth Hour participants have raised money to bring clean energy to remote parts of the world that lack an energy infrastructure altogether.
For the Event
You don’t have to trip the circuit breakers of a massive skyscraper or landmark to make a difference, though. Just go candlelit! Turning off the power on your TV, computers, and light sources for an hour is enough. Strike up some beeswax or soy candles (which are smoke-free and carbon-neutral), sit out under the stars, or get to know your non-creepy neighbors by sharing the darkness together in your apartment hallway.
You can also use clean energy – say, a solar-powered lamp – to read or play board games. And remember – the more people you get involved, the more lights will be turned off during the hour. Even if that laptop is running on battery power, it’s not Earth Hour approved – so shut down the screens!
Your kids can host an Earth Hour party or event too. Order a “starter kit” from Earth Hour’s website with goodies and trinkets to help them think about sustainability. They can also write letters to politicians about energy policy or collect money to send green technology to a part of the globe that doesn’t have electricity. Choose a specific action and then work towards it!
After the Fact
Once the hour is over, you don’t have to turn on lights right away. Use the time you’ve just taken to think more carefully about how you use electricity. If you can keep the lights off – go for it! If you’ve realized some things you need to unplug or turn off on a more regular basis (ahem – that computer that has been in sleep mode for 3 days), use Earth Hour as a wake-up call.
Send in photos, videos or written stories about what you did during Earth Hour to the movement’s website. The collective sharing that takes place online after the event is a way to bolster support, keep global enthusiasm, and connect people across the world who have shared the same experience.
Remember: the hour chosen for your blackout will vary based on your time zone, so by the time you start your Earth Hour, someone else may have just finished. So sharing stories of encouragement could motivate someone else to give Earth Hour a shot who is in a time zone after you!
In the Long Run
Consult with your kids about long-term changes you can all make to reduce climate change. Although our individual actions might seem small, when they’re all put together, they can make a big difference.
Start with switching your household appliances and lights to LED bulbs or renewable energy. Install solar panels or just get a few solar lights to start the process of minimizing energy use. Your kids will love the task of detecting things that use energy in your house and figuring out how to minimize that energy!
Like computers, there are other appliances and electronics that we tend to leave plugged in or “idling” on a regular basis. This consumes “phantom energy,” which really has no positive benefit or output. Ask your kids to locate these phantoms and make sure they only get switched on when they’re needed.
Make an effort to reduce paper and plastic waste. Whether you’re shopping at the convenience store and saying “no” to a plastic bag, or you’re printing out a draft of your kid’s report on the back of a previously used page, ditch the overuse of paper and plastic habit.
Whatever actionable item you choose to target, be sure to make it a habit. As long as you do it every day, your child will learn to make an actionable habit of saving the planet!
What are some ways you’re turning your home more eco-friendly? Will you participate in Earth Hour? Share your advice with us!Tags : celebrations celebrate our amazing planet green holidays environment nature earth hour