On March 27, 2010, the world’s tallest building in Dubai, Egypt’s Great Pyramids at Giza, parts of the US’s Las Vegas strip, China’s Forbidden City, Australia’s Sydney Opera House, Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, Greece’s Acropolis, Washington D.C.’s national cathedral and countless others turned off their lights for one hour.
Three years ago in Sydney, Australia and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) started a global phenomena: Earth Hour. A simple initiative to support a global climate change protest: turn off your lights for one hour, 8:30-9:30pm local time, and enjoy the great darkness and support action towards climate change mitigation.
An estimated one billion people participated in this year’s fourth annual Earth Hour to show world leaders and policy makers that people do care about climate change and the time to act is now.
There were some non-human participants this year as well: According to Chris Chaplin of WWF in China, Giant panda Mei Lan led events in 30 Chinese cities, walking onto a platform amid dimming lights in her enclosure at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan, China.
A new and unique feature of 2010 was the influx of various apps for Twitter, Facebook, smart phones, and other social medias that were also available so individuals could show their support for the cause.
So how did supporters spend their Earth Hour?
- Looked at the stars
- Told stories
- Took a walk by moonlight
- Shared a romantic candlelit dinner
- Participated in local parks-and-nature center-led night hikes
- Enjoyed conversation with family and friends
- Had a lights out wine and cheese tasting
- Gathered a group for an acoustic concert or sing along
- Played hide-and-go-seek outside
- Brainstormed and planned ways to reduce their carbon footprints
- Chilled and listened to the sounds of the great darkness
The mission of Earth Hour is to spread awareness and instigate action. Just because the next Earth Hour is a year away doesn’t mean you can’t cast your vote for the Earth today and take action now:
- Organize your own Earth Hour any day of the week with family or friends and enjoy one of the activities listed above or come up with your own.
- Make a plan to reduce your carbon footprint by carpooling, taking public transportation, or buying local.
- Start volunteering at a local nature center or with an environmental group.
- Organize a few friends to clean up a section of a local park or street.
- Get your community leaders involved now and talk to them about pledging to participate in Earth Hour 2011.