Earth hour is an international movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and it started in 2007 in Australia. The idea to switch off lights as a sign of our commitment to the planet was created as an awareness campaign by advertising agency Leo Burnett Sydney and became a worldwide movement. The day, which happens every year at the end of March, is supported by institutions and companies such as UNESCO, FIFA, UEFA, UN Environment Program, Philips, IKEA, Body Shop, among others. But many people still think why celebrating Earth Hour is important?
What is the Earth Hour?
As we said, this event is meant to raise awareness of climate change and other environmental issues. That’s already a good reason to participate, right?
Since it started in 2007, Earth Hour has grown dramatically over the years and now, more than 7.000 cities in 187 countries participate in the event.
Why celebrating Earth Hour is important and makes a difference
Undoubtedly, it makes a difference as a symbolic action to create awareness of environmental issues. This is the big WHY celebrating Earth Hour is important. But there are other opinions to consider:
- Some critics say the reduction in power consumption during Earth Hour is irrelevant.
- The focus on individual behaviour as a climate change maker is wrong because the responsibility lays on fossil fuel industries and governments.
- Bjørn Lomborg, author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” wrote: “It is vital to make solar and other new technology cheaper than fossil fuels quickly so we can turn off carbon energy sources for a lot longer than one hour and keep the planet running… Fossil fuels literally gave us enlightenment, by lighting our world and giving us protection from the fury of the elements. It is ironic that today’s pure symbolism should hark back to a darker age.”
How to join the Earth Hour movement?
If you want to show your commitment to saving our planet, you don’t need to turn off your lights and go straight to bed at 8:30 pm. Here are some cool and safe ideas on how to spend this dark hour:
1- CANDLELIGHT DINNER
Whether a romantic tête-à-tête dinner or with a big group of friends, a candlelight dinner has always a great atmosphere. To stay in the movement’s mood, try cooking with only local-produced ingredients, so as to produce the least carbon footprint possible.
2- DINNER IN THE DARK
For a more fun dinner, you can prepare a several-course dinner to be enjoyed in the dark. Blindfold your guests and have them describe the food they’re eating. The one who guesses right the more dishes gets a prize, maybe a nice bottle of champagne that he or she will, most probably, be forced to share with everyone at the end of the meal!
3- BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN CITY
Hundreds of the world’s most iconic landmarks, from the Empire State Building to the Eiffel Tower, the Tokyo Tower and the Sydney Opera House participate in Earth Hour. This year, during the event, why not divide your friends into teams and go for a walk around your city trying to discover which landmarks and buildings have turned off their lights. The team that finds the most buildings by the end of the hour wins a prize, maybe a nice bottle of champagne that he or she will, most probably, be forced to share with everyone at the end of the lights-off-hunt.
4- PICNIC IN THE PARK
Spring has already started so why not enjoy a nice candlelit picnic in the park with your family and friends? Ask your friends to bring only organic food and of course, organic wine. Encourage them to take the left-overs home to recycle them into new dishes.
You can go for a hike during the Earth Hour. Climb up to a higher place, choose a comfortable spot to sit and take advantage of the fact that many buildings and houses will have turned their lights off, to stargaze. You will be surprised by the number of stars that you don’t normally see because of the city’s light.
Changes beyond the hour
We know the big players in our environmental problems are governments, politicians and fossil fuel companies. But it’s not only that, we need to find solutions without stopping our development. It means, we need science, people trying to find a new source of energies and international regulations.
However, as conscious citizens, we can change some habits as buying locally produced food, eating organic when possible. But also leaving the car at home and taking public transportation once a week. Taking the stairs and shorter hot showers. What about turning the lights off every time you leave a room? Choosing vintage or second hand, especially leather and fur clothes. And USE LESS PLASTIC BAGS from supermarkets.
Why celebrating Earth Hour is important – photo:by Nigel Howe from Sydney, Australia, via Wikimedia Commons