It was March of 2016 when I stumbled across an event on social media. It was called Earth Hour, and I was intrigued. Then, when my family went for a drive, I saw it again on a digital billboard.
“Earth Hour: Saturday March 29th!”
“Wow,” I thought, “Why haven’t I heard about this before?”
I typed in #EarthHour2016 on Twitter, and before my eyes, I saw a global movement. All over the world, people were turning out their lights to spread an important message – we need to talk about climate change. From individual families to hotels and even airports, people were taking a stand!
And so that day, I told my family about Earth Hour and asked if we could take part. They agreed, and that year was the start of a new family tradition!
Earth Hour is an annual event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It was first held in Sydney, Australia back in March 2007, and has grown to include over 7000 cities across the world! The idea is simple: between 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm (your local time), just turn your lights out. That means no lights, no TV, no iPhone – turn any unessential lights off for the duration of Earth Hour, and find another way to occupy your time!
Unfortunately, Earth Hour sometimes gets a bad rap because the actual environmental benefits of turning lights out for just an hour is negligible. But that’s not the point. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of climate change and other environmental issues, and to create a global community of people who are willing to make this small sacrifice for the greater good. And it works! Not only does Earth Hour bring together my family each year (and force us to unplug), but it empowers us to be more environmentally friendly. And let me tell you, it is incredibly inspiring to log on to Twitter after Earth Hour and scroll through my feed to see everyone else who participated. It’s like we’re one big team; though we might be from different corners of the Earth, we are all working toward one common goal.
Wondering how you should spend your Earth Hour? Here are some ideas:
1) Play some games
Each year for Earth Hour, my family breaks out the board games! Dust off your old boxes of Scrabble and Monopoly, and make it a family games night.
— Asha Mior (@ashafortheworld) March 26, 2017
Here’s another idea: play some charades! It’s always a great game to play with a group of friends or family, not to mention, guessing is twice as hard without lights.
2) Get back to nature
The theme of Earth Hour 2018 is #Connect2Earth. In today’s technology-oriented society, people are increasingly forgetting the importance of spending time in nature, and it’s harming our outlook on the environment. So this year in particular, consider spending your Earth Hour outside. Perhaps, go for a nighttime bike ride, or just lie down in your backyard and look at the stars.
3) Work out by candlelight
I saw this idea on the Earth Hour website, and I absolutely loved it! Get together with your friends and do some yoga – maybe Earth Hour will help you find your zen 🙂
4) Get musical
Music has been one of mankind’s pastimes long before we discovered electricity. Break out your instrument of choice, be it the ukulele, the piano, or the didgeridoo, and go acoustic! Of course, if you’re not the type to play an instrument, singing campfire songs with your friends sounds like a fun alternative. Singing Kumbaya by candlelight sounds like a great way to spend Earth Hour!
5) Host an Earth Hour event!
This year, I enlisted some other members of my school’s environment club to host an early Earth Hour event at lunchtime. We turned out all the lights in our auditorium, set up some lanterns (candles would be a bit hard to manage), and brought in all our favourite games. I was a little nervous at first that people wouldn’t show up, but my concerns were quickly allayed once the students started arriving! We might be the social media generation, but as I was delighted to learn, we will readily unplug to play cards with our friends.
I have to say, hosting an event was my favourite Earth Hour experience thus far, and I can’t wait to hold another event next year! If you’re interested, the Earth Hour website has a toolkit that you can download, with resources and information to run your own event.
How will you spend #EarthHour2018?