March 25, 2017
Happy Earth Hour 2017! Are you going to turn off your lights and electrical devices between 8:30 and 9:30 tonight? Devin and I are, which means our daughters will be participating in the event as well except they’ll be doing so in their sleep. Well… maybe we’ll cheat a little and keep their nightlights and fans on because if we don’t they’ll wake up and then no Earth Hour activities for us adults. (Keep reading for a few things we – and others – like to do during Earth Hour!)
Earth Hour may be only a 60 minute event, but it’s purpose is to prove that even the smallest actions contribute to a more environmentally conscious and sustainable way of living. The idea that each one of us can make a difference with small, every day actions is exactly what Of Houses and Trees stands for and lines up with how I try to live my life. As the Earth Hour website says, “No one causes climate change in isolation and no one can tackle it alone. Changing climate change requires innovation in ambition, vision and collaboration and it starts with each of us.”
What started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia as a one-city affair has grown to a worldwide event. Here are a few stats on last year’s Earth Hour to give you an idea of what it’s grown into:
178 countries participated in Earth Hour 2016.
12,700+ landmarks and monuments switched off their lights.
133,000+ events were listed on digital maps.
Earth Hour hashtags were used 2.5 billion times on Twitter between January and March 2016.
So yeah, people are participating in and people are talking about Earth Hour. But what does that mean for the planet? Creator of the event, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), admits that Earth Hour is a symbolic gesture and is not meant to significantly reduce electrical consumption in a single hour once a year. Instead, it’s about getting people to talk, think and act – not just during those 60 minutes, but year round. The WWF believes Earth Hour drives legislative change, promotes protection of forests, oceans and wildlife, encourages sustainable lifestyles and helps spark global awareness about environmental issues. Here are a few areas where our awareness and actions can create positive changes:
Protection of forests and the trees, plants, animals and organisms that live there.
Management of waste.
Sustainable agriculture and food consumption.
So, with all that being said, what are some Earth Hour activities you can do this year? I mean no iPhones, no Netflix and no flicking the lights on and off over and over in an attempt to simulate a rave-like atmosphere while you listen to Sandstorm by Darude? Nope. Instead you have to sit around in the dark and contemplate the meaning of life and who wants to do that? Or you could just do this stuff instead:
Pick up the acoustic. This is mine and Devin’s favourite of all the Earth Hour activities. Nothing like lighting some candles and strumming/singing away whilst imagining it’s the 90s again and we’re on MTV Unplugged. (I just looked it up and it turns out the show is actually still running, but the last act Wikipedia has listed as performing is Miley Cyrus so… yuck. Once, again – let’s just pretend it’s the 90s.)
Go for a walk. Head outside and take a stroll. If you live near a forest, river, lake, mountain range or the ocean – inhale the beauty of the natural world and remember why we crazy humans need events like Earth Hour to remind us how lucky we are to call this planet home.
Work it out. Candlelight yoga, candlelight pilates, candlelight indoor soccer. On second thought, maybe no candles for that one. Instead – blackout indoor soccer. Or you could sit on the couch and eat chips and then tell everyone you worked out. Your choice.
Games on. Once our kids are a little older and are actually awake at 8:30pm we are totally going to do this one. You could either play a traditional game like a board game or a word game. Or, you could make up your own lights-out themed game. My sister, cousin and I used to play a game in the dark called String Game where we would meticulously wind string all the way around and across a room creating a massive spiderweb and then run through it in the dark like maniacs and destroy it in seconds.
Be a joiner. If you are a more social person than we are, you may want to find a community event and rub shoulders with fellow earth-lovers. For example, in Edmonton (the closest large city to my small town), there is an Earth Hour race (which strangely takes place between the hours of 1pm and 5pm) where participants run between the city’s three main post secondary campuses. For more Earth Hour activities around the world visit this map. (Unfortunately the map wasn’t working for me, but maybe it will for you.)
Have you ever participated in Earth Hour? Do you plan on doing so this year? What do you like to do when the lights go out… other than sleep, of course. Actually, sleep should be added to the list of totally legitimate Earth Hour activities and I should have included it above. Comment below if you love me as much as you love our planet! And don’t forget to subscribe for more posts on sustainability as well as architecture, interior design, DIY projects, crafts, gardening, home decor and healthy eating.