Earth Hour is starting to crop on the calendar. If you’ve never heard of it yet, you can visit Earth Hour’s site. During Earth Hour, participants turn out all their lights for one hour. It was started by the World Wildlife Fund three years ago as a way to speak up and raise awareness about climate change. While largely a symbolic act showing one’s support of climate change legislation, it also means that on that day an hour of electricity isn’t being consumed. This year, Earth Hour takes place on Saturday the 27th of March 2010 (next week!), at 8.30pm local time. That means, 8:30pm according to the time zone you live in, in case you’re confused.
Last year, around 1 billion people participated, including people from 4,100 cities, 87 countries, and seven continents. Some notable landmarks around the world that got involved include the Las Vegas Strip, United Nations Headquarters, Golden Gate Bridge, and the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City. You can watch the Earth Hour 2010 video, which has an awesome montage of various places before and during Earth Hour.
This year, show your support by spreading the word locally to friends, co-workers, and family. Join the facebook event or show your support with the twitter application found here. This application automatically “turns the lights off” on your Twitter profile picture during Earth Hour and sends out a tweet to tell your followers what you’re supporting.
WWF originally got involved with climate change to combat deforestation in tropical areas. Deforestation in these areas is the cause of around 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. According to WWF, “each year, an area the size of New Jersey is cut down in the Amazon and Borneo, two of the world’s largest rainforests. If the Amazon were its own country, it would be the world’s seventh largest emitter of carbon dioxide”. Deforestation threatens not only endangered animals, but severely adds to the climate change problem.
WWF has been working to recruit corporate participants for Earth Hour 2010. So far Wells Fargo, Ikea, The Coca-Cola Company, HSBC, Nokia, IBM, Johnson & Johnson and the electric utility provider ComEd, have all signed on, just to name a few. WWF has been working with them to help them to improve their efficiency and reduce their emissions. You can read about these companies’ efforts to fight climate change here.
The next step is to figure out what you can do to celebrate Earth Hour. You can start by signing up on their webpage and committing to turning off all your lights on March 27th at 8:30pm. Energy conservation shouldn’t be a one time thing. Beyond taking part in Earth Hour, here are a few things you can do to start helping out with climate change right now:
- Since summer is coming up, move your thermometer up 2 degrees. In winter, turn it down 2 degrees.
- Unplug your appliances when you’re not using them. This includes your TV, your kitchen appliances, your electric toothbrush when it’s not charging, everything.
- Keep your fridge full. The goal is to keep your fridge full enough to be the most efficient, but not so full that air can’t move around.
- Only use your dishwasher and washing machine when they are completely full.
- Buy products that come with as little packaging as possible, or with packaging that is recyclable.
WWF also has a list of things individuals can do on their site. First things first though, be sure to add Earth Hour to your calendars and spread the word!