On Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 8:30 pm, I am taking part in Earth Hour-a global event in which millions of people will turn out their lights to make a statement of concern about our planet and climate change.
Sponsored by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour got started just two years ago and is now the largest event of its kind in the world. Last year, more than 50 million participated and the lights went out at the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the Coliseum in Rome, just to name a few. Even Google's homepage went black for the day! In Israel, President Shimon Peres personally turned off lights in Tel Aviv.
This year, Earth Hour will be even bigger-already 250 cities in 74 countries have agreed to take part including Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Nashville with more signing up every day. Around the world cities like Moscow, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Mexico City will turn out their lights.
Participating in Earth Hour is easy, fun and free. To sign up, visit http://www.earthhourus.org/. Below are two “Top Ten Lists” about Earth Hour and creative things to do when the lights go out in case you need inspiration!
Ten Things to Know About Earth Hour 2009
1. Earth Hour 2009 takes place on March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm—local time.
2. The date was set in March because it is close to the Spring Equinox, a period when the most number of countries around the world will experience darkness in the 8 o’clock hour.
3. Earth Hour isn’t about how much energy is saved during one hour. The idea behind Earth Hour is that by working together, each one of us can make a difference on the issue of climate change. By doing something as simple as turning off the lights, we send a visual symbol to the world’s leaders that we are counting on them to work together to find solutions to climate change.
4. Earth Hour is a non-partisan event. When it comes to caring about the future of our planet, we all have a stake as citizens of the world regardless of other political beliefs and affiliations.
5. Earth Hour turns off non-essential lighting only. Lights necessary for public safety will not go out. Earth Hour has been conducted safely and without incident in more than 100 cities around the world.
6. Earth Hour is an inclusive event and everyone is invited to participate. WWF will provide tools online to enable any town, community, school, individual or organization to be part of the event.
7. WWF has designated a limited number of “flagship cities” in the US where it will devote resources to make sure the lights actually do go out. In 2009 those cities include: Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. In addition, WWF will be seeking the support of Washington DC and the federal government.
8. Many US cities will also participate as “supporting cities.” To become an official supporting city, a proclamation or some type of official confirmation that the event is supported by the local governing body of that community must be sent to WWF.
9. More than 750 cities throughout the world have already agreed to participate in Earth Hour 2009.
10. World Wildlife Fund is the organization behind Earth Hour, but many other groups and NGOs are supporting Earth Hour in 2009.
10 Things You Can Do When the Lights Are Out
On March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm, tens of millions of people around the world will turn out their lights for one hour — Earth Hour — to demonstrate concern for our living planet and send a loud message to our leaders that they support action on climate change. Here are a few ideas for things to do in the dark…by yourself or with others:
1. Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner with someone special using organic or sustainably grown food items.
2. Invite friends and family over for a “lights-out” party and serve green-themed snacks and drinks—green tea or apple martinis anyone?
3. Turn off the lights and power down the computer and cell phone. Use the quiet time to take a break from a “plugged-in” world by meditating or resting.
4. Take a bubble bath by candlelight.
5. Use the hour for practical tasks that you never seem to have time for. Test essential items in your emergency preparedness kit like flashlights, radios, and cell phones. Change out all your light bulbs to energy-efficient CFLs. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Think about how you would evacuate your house in an emergency in the dark.
6. Read a book set in an era without electricity. Marvel that the Romans conquered much of the world without a single cell phone and that Shakespeare wrote masterpieces without a laptop or the Internet.
7. Turn off the computer and write a letter by candlelight the old-fashioned way using pen and paper.
8. Invite friends over to play charades or Scrabble by candlelight.
9. View the night sky via telescope--the reduced “light pollution” may make some stars more visible.
10. Take photos of how you spent Earth Hour and upload them to the Earth Hour pages on Facebook, Myspace and YouTube. Keep it clean please!