What will you be doing on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 8:30 P.M. local time? Will you be sitting in the dark? If the WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature meets its goal, over a billion of your global neighbors will be turning off their lights for an hour in a symbolic gesture to increase awareness about human-induced climate change--all participating in a worldwide event called Earth Hour.
Earth Hour originated in Sydney, Australia in 2007, when approximately two-million people participated in the local event by turning off their lights. In 2008, the event went global, with over 50-million participants. The organizers hope that when the event takes place tomorrow, to have over one-billion participants turning off their lights. In addition to individuals who are pledging to turn off the lights of their homes and businesses, a number of cities, such as London, Los Angeles, Paris, as well as landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and the Great Pyramids of Giza, have officially pledged their participation as well. At the time of this new post, people in 2,848 cities and towns in 83 countries, 66 national capitals, and 829 "icons and landmarks
" have pledged their participation in the event.
In a press release
sent out last week, the Earth Hour organizers made these suggestions of how "to spend Earth Hour and reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Attend a local Earth Hour event or organise your own by throwing an Earth Hour street party with your neighbours
2. Gather family & friends for a night picnic in your local park and look at the stars
3. Enjoy a family dinner by candlelight
4. Organise a treasure hunt in the dark
5. Take the dog for a night walk
6. Have a candle-lit bath
7. Sit in the dark and share stories
8. Organise a family night playing board games
9. Share a romantic night in with your loved one
10. Upload your 'on the night' photos and videos to flickr and YouTube respectively, and then add them to the respective Earth Hour flickr group (http://www.flickr.com/groups/earthhour2009global/) and the global YouTube Group (http://www.youtube.com/group/earthhourglobal)."
The point behind Earth Hour is not necessarily to use less power during the event, but to provide a united, global platform from which individuals can express their desire for changes in how we consume power and how that consumption impacts the environment. The organizers also don't necessarily expect businesses to turn off their interior lights if they are still open for business during the event; but they hope that these businesses can at least extinguish their exterior lighting, such as for electronic and neon-lit signs. The organizers also expect many participants to be in front their computers and smartphones, as they are asking people to upload pictures and videos of the event to the Internet, as well as to blog and tweet about it as it happens.
Some companies, such as Belkin are taking things even a step further, by encouraging
people to also turn off or unplug their computers and consumer electronics devices and even eliminate their devices' consuming standby power (also known as vampire power) by turning off their surge protectors. If you want to participate, it is as simple as turning off your lights. Those who want to pledge their support can sign up on the Earth Hour
website. Do you plan on participating and do you think this event can really make a difference? Let us know you thoughts in the comments below.